President Barack Obama’s Nauroz message addressed to Iran is of special interest for three reasons. First, he is leaving for Israel, which is first as US president. Second, following from the above, Obama’s message is overtly conciliatory.
Third and most important, expert level discussions between Iran and P5+1 were held in Istanbul Tuesday following up on the negotiations in Almaty on February 26-27. The next round in Almaty is due on April 4. Referring to the discussions in Istanbul, EU spokesman said P5+1 presented Iran with further details about their “revised confidence-building proposal.” He added that the two sides strove at istanbul to “explore each other’s positions on a number of technical subjects.”
Obama held out no threats, directly or indirectly, in his Nauroz message, and he instead made a strong urge to Tehran to take “immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring long-term settlement of the nuclear issue.”
In return, Obama promised trade and better ties between the US and Iran and promised to address Iran’s needs for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Iran is expected to figure high on Obama’s agenda during the Israel visit. That is why I thought of highlighting the following sentence in his message: “If, as Iran’s leaders say, their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for practical solution.”
Conceivably, it is as much a message to Tel Aviv as to Tehran. Be that as it may, Obama was manifestly persuasive that Iran doesn’t have to pay such a “high and unnecessary price” because of its “unwillingness” — not “refusal”, mind you — to satisfy the concerns of the international community. Obama’s Nauroz message is here.
– March 20, 2013