Obama tells Iranians now is the time to settle nuclear dispute
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States (US) President Barack Obama insisted on Monday that "now is the time" for Iran to take meaningful steps to resolve its nuclear standoff with the West as he issued a direct appeal to the Iranian people on the eve of his first official trip to Israel.
Mr Obama used the occasion of Iran's new year celebration, as he has in the past, to try to ratchet up pressure on Teheran. But this time he focused squarely on its disputed nuclear program, which is expected to be high on the agenda when he visits Israel, Iran's arch-foe.
In the video message with Farsi subtitles, Mr Obama coupled a call for Teheran to meet international demands to curb its nuclear ambitions with a warning that otherwise it would face further isolation - a suggestion that it could be hit with even tighter sanctions.
In his statement to the Iranian people marking the Persian new year known as Nowruz, he stopped short of threatening military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail.