Obama marks Nevruz, calls on Iran to solve nuclear issue

Obama marks Nevruz, calls on Iran to solve nuclear issue

Obama marks Nevruz, calls on Iran to solve nuclear issue

US President Barack Obama. AP Photo

U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday celebrated Nevruz and wished Iranians his best for the new spring and the Persian New Year.

“As you and your families come together to celebrate Nevruz, I want to extend my best wishes on this new spring and new year. Around the world, and here in the United States, you are gathering at the Nevruz table – to give thanks for loved ones, reflect on your blessings and welcome all the possibilities of a new season,” he said.

Obama also called on Iranian leaders to solve the nuclear issue and “return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”

“The people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders’ unwillingness to address this issue,” Obama said.

The U.S. president, who criticized Iran’s failure to convince the international community that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, urged Iranian leaders to find a peaceful and a diplomatic solution to the atomic impasse.

“As I’ve said all along, the United States prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically. The U.S., alongside the rest of the international community, is ready to reach such a solution. Now is the time for the Iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue,” Obama said.

Nevruz marks the beginning of the Persian New Year in Iranian calendars and is traditionally celebrated every year on the day of the astronomical northward equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day depending on where it is observed. While celebrated by many people in the wider region, it is also of crucial importance to Kurds.