President Barack Obama sent Iran and its citizens a video message Friday, saying the United States is prepared to end years of strained relations if Tehran tones down its rhetoric.
The video was timed to the major holiday festival of Nowruz, which means "new day" and marks the arrival of spring.
"So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran's leaders," President Obama said in the video.
"We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community."
Though President Obama made no specific offers, he said wanted "a future with renewed exchanges among our people and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce."
The holiday Nowruz is not Islamic; Iranians of all religions celebrate the 12-day event. Traditionally, the U.S. president and secretary of state release statements for Nowruz.
"You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create." - President Obama
"We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect." - President Obama
"There are those who insist that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: "The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence."" - President Obama
1. What is the relationship between America and Iran?
2. How would you describe President Obama's approach to diplomacy and relations with other countries?
1. What is your reaction to this video?
2. Do you think President Obama has created a path towards reconciliation?
3. What reaction do think Iranians will have?
4. Take a look at this in-depth report on Iran: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/middle_east/iran/
what are the challenges to better relations?
5. An aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed "the interest of the American government to settle differences," but added the U.S. government "should realize its previous mistakes and make an effort to amend them."
What do you think of this reaction?