This is the transcript and word cloud of Obama’s video to the Iranian people for Nowruz, which goes far beyond the general Nowruz statements issued by previous Presidents Bush and Clinton.
The word cloud is notable in that the words “New” and “future” are so dominant. Interestingly, so too are the words “United States” – there is much about the shared values here, a direct appeal to the people of Iran to see us as friends and not a threat.
THE PRESIDENT: Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world.
This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and
I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family.
In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and
leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of
your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your
music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more
Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by
the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great
civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the
United States and the world.
For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been
strained. But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity
that binds us together. Indeed, you will be celebrating your New Year
in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays — by
gathering with friends and family, exchanging gifts and stories, and
looking to the future with a renewed sense of hope.
Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise
of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress
for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes,
those are common dreams.
So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to
Iran’s leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time.
My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full
range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the
United States, Iran and the international community. This process will
not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest
and grounded in mutual respect.
You, too, have a choice. 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. And the measure of
that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated
ability to build and create.
So on the occasion of your New Year, I want you, the people and
leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek. It’s a future
with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for
partnership and commerce. It’s a future where the old divisions are
overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can
live in greater security and greater peace.
I know that this won’t be reached easily. There are those who insist
that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words
that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: “The children
of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.”
With the coming of a new season, we’re reminded of this precious
humanity that we all share. And we can once again call upon this spirit
as we seek the promise of a new beginning.
Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.
Original transcript via The Washington Post.