In his Nowruz greetings to the leaders and people of Iran, President Barack Obama noted that the United States has, for the past year, been seeking "a new chapter of engagement" with Iran, "on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect." For three decades, President Obama said, "the United States and Iran have been alienated from one another. Iran's leaders have sought their own legitimacy through hostility to America. And we continue to have serious differences on many issues."
Iran's leaders, however, can still choose a better future for Iran's people. President Obama said, "Together with the international community, the United States acknowledges your right to peaceful nuclear energy – we insist only that you adhere to the same responsibilities that apply to other nations."
The United States, said President Obama, is familiar with Iran's grievances from the past and has not forgotten its own grievance. "But we are prepared to move forward," said President Obama. Speaking directly to Iran's leadership, he asked, "We know what you're against; now tell us what you're for."
Iran's leadership has responded to good faith proposals from the international community with intransigent refusal. "They have turned their backs on a pathway that would bring more opportunity to all Iranians, and allow a great civilization to take its rightful place in the community of nations," said President Obama. "Faced with an extended hand, Iran's leaders have shown only a clenched fist."
"Last June," said President Obama, "the world watched with admiration, as Iranians sought to exercise their universal right to be heard. But tragically, the aspirations of the Iranian people were also met with a clenched fist, as people marching silently were beaten with batons; political prisoners were rounded up and abused; absurd and false accusations were leveled against the United States and the West; and people everywhere were horrified by the video of a young woman killed in the streets."
For its part the United States doesn't meddle in Iran's internal affairs, said President Obama. He reaffirmed the United States' commitment "to stand up for those rights that should be universal to all human beings. That includes the right to speak freely, to assemble without fear; the right to the equal administration of justice, and to express your views without facing retribution against your families."
The U.S., said President Obama, will continue to work with the international community to hold the Iranian government to its international obligations. "But our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands."