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IRAN: Reactions to Obama's Nowruz address

President Obama on Sunday delivered his third annual Nowruz address to Iranians celebrating the ancient Persian fire festival that marks the beginning of the new year, reaching out specifically to the young people of Iran, who have made up the bulk of that nation's opposition movement.

"The future of Iran will not be shaped by fear," Obama said after criticizing the Iranian government's crackdown on dissent and even naming several well-known activists who have been imprisoned. "The future of Iran belongs to the young people -- the youth who will determine their own destiny."

So what did Iranians think of Obama's speech? Babylon & Beyond asked people in Tehran.

Ehsan, 24 , an engineer: "First of all, it is in Obama's interest to boost his popularity among Iranians both in Iran and abroad, especially those Iranian expatriates based in the U.S. Secondly, his speech will lift the spirits of Iranians who are in the opposition camp. But on the whole, the Iranian Islamic regime does not care about the speech, and it may even provide some pretext for more suppression. They may say 'Aha, look, we've already said [the opposition protesters] are stooges of America, the great Satan.' Anyway, the speech is good lip service to reform in Iran, and it might be remembered in the collective psyche of Iranians ... and it's good public relations."

Picture 6 Kazem Anbarlouie, 56, editor in chief of the conservative hard-line daily Resalat: "Either President Obama is misinformed by his advisors or he has got the true information and pretends otherwise. While the U.S. administration is ignoring the unrest in Arab world, Iran is calm and people are enjoying their New Year's holiday and were out shopping. Less than half a percent of well-off Iranians protested; understandably, they are against the Islamic Revolution, as the revolution is not for their interests. The American is over-generalizing about the whole nation from this half-percent. In fact, President Obama is supporting despotism under the name of reform and democracy, because the so-called 'reformists' are the true despots."

Fazel Maibodi, 57, a cleric: "Any good wishes for the Iranian nation from any source is positive. Any attempt for rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. is positive, regardless of the outcome. We also pray to God that in this new year all the dictators across the Middle East vanish and all political prisoners from all kinds of religious and political groups and denominations are freed and human dignity is respected in all regional countries and in all the world. Islam and Christianity are faiths of human dignity and well-being, so let's wish all mankind well."

Mojtab Bigdeli, 40, an entrepreneur: "We know that the U.S. administration is looking after its own interests and does not care about our interests as an Iranian Muslim nation. We, Iranians, have to find our own solution, and we do not care what President Obama says."

-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Video: President Obama delivers his yearly address for the Iranian Nowruz holiday. Credit:

Photo: Revelers traditionally jump over fire for the ancient Persian festival of Nowruz. Credit: Mehdi Ghasemi / ISNA

Comments () | Archives (24)

Shame on Obama, who the hick he thinks he is; he is bombing Iran's neighbor and at the same time sending New Year message. All I can say; SHAME ON YOU OBAMA, you are just like Bush.

What a half-baked silly article! Nowruz is new year celebration, not a fire festival. The festival that also involves fire (Charshanbesuri) took place four days before new year. Any Iranian with a pulse is aware of this!

When did Iranian people get a warm conciliatory greeting from a U.S. President. Thanks Obama!... the rest is not worth any comments.

LOL at Kazem Anbarlouie

Do we really have to listen to what this guy says? Why not let the protectors march freely? after all, it's only "half a percent"

When Obama elected as U.S. president, there was some hope cross generation in Iran, in the Middle East and all over the world that business as usual may be changing. However the world totally disappointed by his lie and deception, and he proof to me that he is nothing but a cheap politician who is bought and paid for by special interst group and specially the Zionist Loobys. SO WHATEVER HE SAY WORTH NOTHING TO IRANIAN NATION. IRANIAN CHOOSEN THROUGH ISLAM THE PATH TO PROGRESS AND NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT.


Saudi and Iranian regimes have many things in common: Fanaticism, Barbarism, Degrading Women rights, none tolerance of freedom of thought and religion. Both apply laws belonging to 15 centuries ago and do not belong to modern world. They are the same nature of Taliban Regime in Afghanistan. One is US ally and the other US foe. So far Saudi’s oil power have shielded them serious uprising at home and West criticism of their terrible record on human rights. But, the thing would not last like this. Both tyrannies will be swept away by young masses in both countries.It will happen in Iran this year. Saudi regime may last a little longer.

Obama is really kidding the world , he thinks that people all over the world are as foolish as he seems to be one. I had great hopes about this president but it turns out that he is just a simple player in the american establishment. I will tell him, before trying to give advice to the iranian people, take care of americans first. Many, many people, a whole lot of people hate president obama inside the united states itself. Everytime you go to an internet forum, you see all the hatred against president obama by lots of americans, and this is always the case. Some are still asking for his birth certificate.
Last, but not least , if president obama cared about freedom and democracy, why has he not said anything about Bahrain about the saudis forces , bahraini forces brutally murdering peaceful demonstrators? why ? he's not blind ?
the fact is that america has been supporting wahhabi dictatorships like saudi arabia ever since their creation and does not care about democracy at all !


What is interesting in President Obama's speech is that he is realizing young Iranians have shifted their demand from reform inside regime to Regime Change. No wonder he does not name Mousavi and Karroubi, but he does name some few dissidents. The movement in Iran passed beyond election fraud. In recent demonstration the brave demonstrators directly chanted against Khamenei. Ahmadi Nejad was no longer the target.

Perhaps every spring, we should learn from the nature, that we are surrounded by great forces of rejuvenation, growth and rebirth.

As there is light after darkness, warmth after cold and hope after despair, we human beings need to participate in this giant awakening!

If I may rephrase US president Norooz greeting in order to be culturally digestible for Indo-Iranians:
Aheen, ahen, in name of Alexander and his scepter for world justice and security (taken from dead king!), may good thoughts and good words and good deeds be universal aspirations for all mankind, may this spring equinox bring more prosperity to all of us in coming year (damn those Persian Generals for leaving us with dead stiff!), and in conclusion wish you all fresh supply of triple C's (Carpets, Cats, Caviars) assuming we can get those lobbyists (Huns) off our back in D.C., stick to positive points I made and ignore negatives, stay tuned!
Peace out!

Great Speech. President Obama recognizes that the days of "Mob" rule under cover of any name or ideology are over. Millions of young people would not allow their resources to be looted and their opportunities to be taken away by gangsters serving Big Brother boss in Iran and elsewhere. Khamenei is one of the godfathers remaining in the third world. His days are numbered. Iranian people have spoken and shown him their resolves in several occasions

For all you haters out there,

Lets first remember that President Obama is taking the time to acknowledge the Persian New Year and reach out to the Persian community. Second, irrespective of what the President of the united States claims, all Persians whether living in Iran or abroad must make a choice as to what values they will live by. Will they live for democracy, secularism and freedom or will they live by theocracy, oppression and authoritarinim. Left or Right, Oil or no Oil, they must decide whether they will live in the past or propagate the future. It is clear what side President Obama prefers....

Seriously? What a silly article! A 10 year old kid could write something more substantial. Just randomly quoting some government supporters doesn't make a news article!

Obama is a good man with good intentions (though not always the best actions) and a vast majority of Iranians welcomed his Nowruz address.

@ Ali Mostofi
You are so right. Maintaining the press credentials of Ramin Mostaghim appears to be the main goal here.....silly piece indeed.

Kazem is right. An Ayatollahs' reform party is still an Ayatollah system.

For centauries through out the history the natives lived together dominated by majority rule in harmony, and they respected each others heritage, related to one another, through intercourse, association, socializing, and being part of it as one family which are joint tenant, with Jews, Moslems, Christians, all alike
Any foreign domination, and or meddling to our affaires by the west or Israel today cause tribulations for the entire world, you cannot go back to the colonial ages as Empires exist no more this is not the new world and Influence today comes from friendship stop misleading us become our friends and let us have our prosperity back

What a silly piece--so you cite three random Iranians and you say this is "Iranian reactions to Obama?" The headline sounds like it is going to tell us Iran's official reaction. Instead the LA Times quotes a bunch of regime supporters in order to make sure that Ramin Mostaghim can maintain his press credentials.

Interesting what the Cleric said. This represents the new generation of clerics in Iran who are highly educated, well-informed, and very moderate. Contrast that with Obama and his advisors, the zionist-neocons who label the Islamic Republic clerical government as "fanatical", "terrorists", and living in the 14th century. Shame on Obama who only makes Iranians resent him and the US.

What Obama has said is basically meaningless since it is just a propaganda. United States and its president just care about their own interests and supreme strategic dominance of the world. Iran being a competitor to those interests and strategic dominance is framed as an enemy and thus these "speeches" by US presidents are aimed at creating chaos in Iran. But if history is any indication these speeches have had no effect what so ever. Save few rich and dual citizen Iranians the majority of Iranians are highly nationalistic and such kind of "speeches" from the president of another nation trying to patronize them will only make Iranians more patriotic and squarely against US aims in Iran. The era of operation ajax is over and Iranians are very much acutely aware of the fact that US is just interested in oil and not in freedom as has been amply made clear for Iranians with happenings in Bahrain where US is on the side of a dictator oppressing people many of whom are ethnically Iranians. Also Iranians still remember that US was on the side of Saddam when he invaded Iran, in a war that cost Iran a million lives. So these "good intention speeches" sound really hollow when heard from inside of Iran. It would be as if Bin Laden issues a speech on new year eve for American telling the youths that he is with them. Bin Laden representing a terrorizing system having killed scores of people. The same way Obama represents a terrorizing system which projects hard power over innocent people killing scores of humans.

For centauries through out the history the natives lived together dominated by majority rule in harmony, and they respected each others heritage, related to one another, through intercourse, association, socializing, and being part of it as one family which are joint tenant, with Jews, Moslems, Christians, all alike
Any foreign domination, and or meddling to our affaires by the west or Israel today cause tribulations for the entire world, you cannot go back to the colonial ages as Empires exist no more and Influence today comes from friendship this is not the new world stop misleading us become our friends and let us have our prosperity back

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