Washington:  Greeting Iranians on the occasion Nowruz, US President Barack Obama, has said that it is now time for Iran to take "immediate and meaningful steps" to reduce tensions and work towards an "enduring, long-term settlement" of the nuclear issue.
"The US prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically. Indeed, if, as Iran's leaders say, their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for a practical solution," Obama said in his video message, ahead of Nowruz, the Persian new year.
"It's a solution that would give Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while resolving once and for all the serious questions that the world has about the true nature of the Iranian nuclear programme," Obama said speaking directly to the people and leaders of Iran ahead of Nowroz as he has done every year after becoming the President in 2009. The US, he said, alongside the rest of the international community, is ready to reach such a solution.     

"Now is the time for the Iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue," he said.
Acknowledging that finding a solution will be no easy task, Obama said if they are able to find a solution, the Iranian people will begin to see the benefits of greater trade and ties with other nations, including the US.
"Whereas if the Iranian government continues down its current path, it will only further isolate Iran. This is the choice now before Iran's leaders," he said. Obama said Iran's isolation isn't good for the world either.
"Just as your forbearers enriched the arts and sciences throughout history, all nations would benefit from the talents and creativity of the Iranian people, especially your young people," he said.
"Every day that you are cut off from us is a day we're not working together, building together, innovating together and building a future of peace and prosperity that is at the heart of this holiday," said the US President.

Obama said since taking office, he has offered the Iranian government an opportunity, if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.
"I have had no illusions about the difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust. It will take a serious and sustained effort to resolve the many differences between Iran and the US. This includes the world's serious and growing concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, which threatens peace and security in the region and beyond," Obama said.
"Iran's leaders say that their nuclear programme is for medical research and electricity. To date, however, they have been unable to convince the international community that their nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. That's why the world is united in its resolve to address this issue and why Iran is now so isolated," he said. "The people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders' unwillingness to address this issue," he added.


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