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On eve of Israel trip, Obama tells Iran to disarm

On eve of Israel trip, Obama tells Iran to disarm
Monday, March 18, 2013 - 6:53pm

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the eve of his first trip as president to Israel, President Obama on Monday delivered a message to Iranian's leadership saying that the country will face increased isolation if it continues to pursue a nuclear policy.

The comments came as part of the president's video address to the Iranian people marking the beginning of Norwuz, the Iranian New Year.

"If the Iranian government continues down its current path, it will only further isolate Iran," Obama said. "This is the choice now before Iran's leaders."

"I have no illusions about the difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust," he continued. "It will take a serious and sustained effort to resolve the many differences between Iran and the United States."

As he has in previous years, Obama used the Norwuz address to attempt to stir public opinion among Iranian citizens that their leaders are having a detrimental effect inside the country's borders.

"I hope they choose a better path-for the sake of the Iranian people and for the sake of the world," Obama said. "Because there's no good reason for Iranians to be denied the opportunities enjoyed by people in other countries, just as Iranians deserve the same freedoms and rights as people everywhere."

While the White House has long said that no option is off the table in dealing with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, Obama stressed that he continues to seek a diplomatic solution.

"The United States prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically," he said. "Indeed, if-as Iran's leaders say-their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for a practical solution."

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