Friday, March 20, 2009

Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It

Iranian Leaders Ignore Obama's Outstretched Hand
Iran's supreme leader snubs President Obama in response to a warm video issued by the White House seeking a "new beginning" with Iran.

Iran's supreme leader said Friday that world powers had been persuaded they could not block Iran's nuclear progress -- making no mention of a warm new-year's message sent by President Obama to his country, Reuters reported.

Neither Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noted Obama's attempt to make a "new beginning" with their country in recorded messages they issued to mark the Iranian New Year.

Obama released his video Friday to coincide with the Iranian festival of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. In the video, Obama said the U.S. is prepared to end the strained relations if Tehran tones down its combative rhetoric.

"This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect," Obama said.

A press adviser to Iran's president downplayed the video, saying "minor changes will not end the differences."

Ali Akbar Javanfekr told the Iranian state-run English-language Press TV satellite station that Iran will never forget U.S. meddling in Tehran's affairs. The two countries broke off relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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