Obama issues YouTube video appeal to Iran

The US President calls for 'new beginning' with Iran

Barack Obama, the US President, has called for a ‘new beginning’ of ‘honest’ relations with Iran in a surprise video released on YouTube.
 
In a dramatic reversal of White House policy, the president announced that America was determined to pursue ‘constructive ties’ with its former arch enemy.

He pledged that Tehran could take its ‘rightful place’ in the world if it renounced terror in favour of peace.
 
The two nations have had no diplomatic ties for 28 years. George W Bush, Mr Obama’s predecessor, famously banded Iran within a so-called ‘Axis of Evil’, along with Syria and North Korea.

Mr Obama’s comments, timed to coincide with the start of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, are due to air today on various Middle East networks carrying English and Farsi subtitles. The format of the message suggests it is an attempt to reach the Iranian people directly.

Iran’s immediate response to the speech was lukewarm, with an advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, saying that he welcomed President Obama’s message – but also wanted to see a comprehensive change in American policy, listing what Iran perceives as US failures over the previous decades.

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