Obama urges Iran to seize nuclear talks opportunity

Obama noted that Iranians elected President Rowhani last year to strengthen the economy

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U.S. President Barack Obama called on the “entire” Iranian government on Thursday to seize the opportunity of nuclear talks with world powers in order to end the country’s economic isolation.

Obama’s statement was seen as a direct effort to create political pressure and boost public support for diplomacy with the government of Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.

"If Iran meets its international obligations, we know where the path of dialogue and greater trust and cooperation can lead," Obama said, a day after the latest round of talks between P5+1 powers and Tehran wrapped up.

The president noted that the Iranian people “deserve better,” saying that they elected Rowhani last year to enhance the economic situation in the country and engage with the world, stressing the need to reach a final nuclear deal.

"The economic hardship that so many Iranians have endured in recent years -- because of the choices of Iranian leaders -- has deprived your country and the world of the extraordinary skills and contributions you have to offer," Obama added.

Obama also acknowledged the difficulty of working out an interim deal last year, in which Iran froze parts of its nuclear program in exchange of a limited ease on its sanctions.

"There is a chance to reach an agreement if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable steps to assure the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only," Obama said.

"Real diplomatic progress this year can help open up new possibilities and prosperity for the Iranian people for years to come," Obama said.

The remarks came in an annual video message to Iranians, on the occasion of Nowruz, the new year celebration.

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