President Obama’s taped appearance on Leno last night has gotten a lot of attention, and understandably so. But Obama also taped a more substantial message to the people of Iran, timed for the national holiday of Nowruz. (Nowruz celebrates the first day of spring and is also the first day of the Iranian new year. There’s a nice symmetry to that concept, timing the new year with the season of renewal).
As Obama noted in the message (see below), relations between Iran and the United States have been strained for three decades now. Left as unspoken subtext was the reality that our current dispute with Iran focuses on its nuclear weapons program. Iran has a lot of different motives for seeking nuclear weaponry, among them its sense that it has been denied its rightful place among the nations of the world and that it needs a nuclear capability to fend off potential invasion by the United States.
Obama’s remarks tried to address both problems, in one case directly, in the other