President Obama told the people of Iran on Monday there can be “a new relationship” with the United States, but only if the Iranian government makes full disclosures about its nuclear program.
“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, in his annual video on Nowruz, the Iranian new year.
“Iran’s leaders say that their nuclear program is for medical research and electricity,” Obama said in a video message. “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.”
Obama’s comments came ahead of his Mideast trip, in which he will hold talks in Israel on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who repeatedly has called for a “credible” military threat against Iran and hinted at the prospect of a unilateral Israeli attack.
Obama said the United States preferred a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the dispute. Later this week the president will visit Israel and Jordan, where the topic of Iran is expected to be high on his agenda.
The U.N. Security Council has ordered Iran to stop uranium enrichment and imposed four sets of sanctions.
Iran denies that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, arguing that it is entitled to develop a civilian nuclear energy generation program.