WASHINGTON – President Obama told Iranians in an online video message that the U.S. wants more educational and cultural exchanges, and lamented that Tehran’s leaders have “turned their backs” on good-faith overtures in the past to expand opportunities for their people.

State radio in Iran quickly accused the Americans of “pursuing the same Iranophobic policy” as always.

In the second such video of his presidency directed at Iran, Obama said the U.S. offer of diplomatic dialogue still stands, but that the Iranian government has chosen isolation. He said the U.S. believes in the dignity of every human being.

The White House released the video late Friday, timing it, as it did last year, to coincide with Nowruz, a 12-day holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the Persian calendar.

There was no official reaction in Iran, and it was difficult to gauge to what extent those inside the country were able to see Obama’s message. Iranian authorities have blocked access to YouTube and many other Web sites that have been used by the opposition movement there. Still, many Iranians are able to bypass those controls with anti-filtering software and other means.

Some Iranian news Web sites carried reports about the message, but did not post the video itself or go into detail about what Obama said. State radio said in a commentary that the message was intended to divide Iranians.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.