The message is a dramatic shift in tone from that of the Bush administration, which included Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, in an “axis of evil.” It also echoes Obama’s inaugural speech, in which he said to the Muslim world, “we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
In Friday’s video, Obama said: “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.”
There was no immediate response from Tehran to Obama’s message, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that his country would welcome talks with the United States “in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect.”
The United States, several European nations and Israel suspect that Tehran has been trying to acquire the capacity to build nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
Last month, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security released a report saying that Iran has reached “nuclear weapons breakout capability” — it has enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb.