TEHRAN, Iran – The Iranian government brushed aside a Persian New Year‘s message Friday from President Barack Obama offering to resolve years of hostility, saying it wants concrete change from Washington before it’s ready to enter a dialogue.
Obama released the video to coincide with the major Iranian festival of Nowruz, a 12-day holiday that marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the Persian calendar. In the video, which has Farsi subtitles, Obama said the U.S. is prepared to end the strained relations if Tehran tones down its combative rhetoric.
Israeli President Shimon Peres issued a rare Nowruz greeting of his own to Iranians, praising what he called “the noble Iranian people” in a message on Israel‘s Farsi-language radio station, which broadcasts in Iran.
But Peres took a tougher tone in an interview to be aired to Iranians on the station on Monday, strongly criticizing Iran’s hard-line leaders as “religious fanatics” and predicting that Iranians will overthrow them.