Invoking art, history and “the common humanity that binds us,” President Obama offered a “new day” in America’s relationship with Iran, using a videotaped message to make an unusual appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.
The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, issued a similar videotaped outreach on Friday, appealing to “the noble Iranian people on behalf of the ancient Jewish people.”
Both messages suggested that there was a place for Iran as an equal in the international community. Mr. Obama warned Iran’s leaders that their country’s access to what he called its “rightful place in the community of nations” would not be advanced by threats or by “terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions.”
Mr. Peres urged the Iranian people to reclaim their worthy place among the nations of the enlightened world.
Mr. Obama’s message was released with Persian-language subtitles to some broadcasters in the Middle East on the day the Nowruz spring holiday is celebrated in Iran. It comes almost 30 years after the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Iran when militant students empowered by the Iranian revolution took over the American Embassy in Tehran, holding more than 50 people hostage for 444 days.
The message echoed sentiments in Mr. Obama’s first televised interview from the White House in January, in which he hinted at a new openness toward Iran.
That message seemed far more explicit in the television broadcast, in which the president urged Iran to discuss “in mutual respect” the gamut of issues that has cast Iran and the United States on opposite sides of a gulf splitting the region. They include Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its attitude toward Israel and what the United States considers Tehran’s support for elements of the insurgency in Iraq.