Obama Addresses Iran Again on Persian New Year; Mousavi pledges to fight on; Call for Release of Derakhshan, ‘Blogfather’

Today Iranians mark Now Ruz, their ancient New Year’s day, celebrated on the vernal equinox (which most often falls on March 21 but sometimes, as today, on the 20th). Now Ruz literally means “New Day.” Persian is an Indo-European language ultimately related to English, and “now” (pronounced “no”) and “new” are cognates.

As he did last year, President Barack Obama addressed Iran in a Now Ruz message. He renewed his offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts with Tehran, decrying what he called the Iranian government’s determination to isolate itself.

ITN has the video of the speech:

Obama pledged to allow more Iranian students to study in the United States, and noted the recent decision to lift obstacles to US internet firms supplying the Iranian market, including Facebook.

Obama’s Iran outreach was stymied by the outbreak of massive protests in Iran after last June’s presidential elections, which the opposition maintains were stolen by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It also ran into difficulties when the apparent deal struck at Geneva on October 1, and tentatively agreed to by the representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was rejected on his return to Iran by hardliners, presumably in the Revolutionary Guards.

Obama’s dogged determination to engage Iran and his decisions on exchange students and internet openness are far more likely to bear fruit than his predecessor’s dismissive and belligerent policies. The resistance of the White House to a campaign by the Israel lobbies for crippling sanctions and even military action against Iran is one element in the tense relations between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hosain Mousavi praised the Green protest movement in the past year and pledged to continue to work for a more open press and the right to assemble and protest (pro forma already in the Iranian constitution).

Human rights and internet activists called upon the regime to release Iran’s “blogfather,” Hosain Derakhshan, from prison. Derakhshan, then living in Canada, pioneered techniques for blogging in Persian and sparked a communications revolution in Iran.

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6 Responses

  1. Major General Hassan Firouzabadi openly supported the so-called nuclear deal, so that would signify high ranking military support for it.

    Juan, do you have ANY evidence whatsoever to point to with your continued assertion that the IRGC torpedoed the deal?

    -Pirouz

  2. I had to laugh at Obama's comment about "Iran's decision to isolate itself." hehehehhee Everyone with a brain knows that the WEST has isolated Iran for decades and continues to do so.

  3. Finally, let me be clear: we are working with the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable because they refuse to live up to their international obligations.

    Perhaps your President would care to explain just what "international obligations" Iran is not living up to, and how the USA and its closest ally are fully living up to their "international obligations". Until then no one should pay any attention to what he says but examine very carefully what he does and doesn't do. For example, the recent story about "bunker busters" arriving on Diego Garcia. BTW, if that was a threat, IMO it was a rather pathetic one.

  4. President Obama is simply continuing the foreign policy of George Bush with a better veneer. I am not the least impressed by the President speaking to the Iranian people while making continual threats against Iran.

    We have a militarist as President, as is seen by looking from stances on Gaza to Honduras and round to Pakistan.

  5. Direct talks = indirect talks (ie do what we say) but in your face.
    There are those who say that Obama = change.
    They are right. A different way of achieving the same goals.
    So what was wrong with Bush were his methods?

  6. It may be pathetic but it is very disturbing to me. Another sign how out of control our military is.

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