[I]n 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.Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded to the video with great skepticism. According to an Associated Press report:
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.
In his most direct assessment of Obama and prospects for better ties, Khamenei said there will be no change between the two countries unless the American president puts an end to U.S. hostility toward Iran and brings "real changes" in foreign policy.I cannot say that this surprises me.
"They chant the slogan of change but no change is seen in practice. We haven't seen any change," Khamenei said in a speech before a crowd of tens of thousands in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad. . . .
"He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed."
Still, Khamenei left the door open to better ties with America, saying "should you change, our behavior will change too."