On Thursday, President Barrack Obama addressed an international audience in an annual video message commemorating Nowruz, the Persian new year, telling Iranians they “deserve better”.
The president said that a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue would inevitably guide the Iranian people “along the new path that so many Iranians seek.”
In Vienna, the Iranian administration, represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, continues to deny allegations that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities.
Thursday marks the first time Obama has directly addressed the Iranian people since talks began on Iran’s nuclear program. It is also the president’s first address on the issue since Hassan Rouhani was elected president.
“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. And you deserve better,” Obama said.
Though the U.S., U.N. and E.U. remain in negotiations with top Iranian officials, the trio have followed through with a series of sanctions because of the nation’s refusal to comply with restrictive measures on their nuclear enrichment program.
“It’s a gap [on enrichment] that’s going to take some hard work to get to a place where we can find agreement,” a senior U.S. administration official told al-Jazeera Wednesday.