Obama Urges Iran’s Youth to Shed ‘Chains’
New York Times / JACKIE CALMES

Even as the United States has joined a coalition at war against Libya’s government and monitors pro-democracy upheaval throughout the Middle East, President Obama on Sunday all but invited the young population of Iran to throw off the government there in a Web address transmitted to the region, adding, “I am with you.”

In a video statement to mark Nowruz, the Iranian new year, Mr. Obama said the democracy movements that began in Tunis and Egypt were preceded two years ago by anti-government demonstrations in Iran, and he recalled how those were violently put down by the regime.

“But the future of Iran will not be shaped by fear,” he said. “The future of Iran belongs to the young people – the youth who will determine their own destiny.”

Mr. Obama noted that more than 60 percent of Iranians were born after 1979, the year of the Iranian revolution that brought conservative anti-American clerics to power. As if addressing them directly, he said, “You are not bound by the chains of the past – the distracting hatred of America that will create no jobs or opportunity; the rigid and unaccountable government; the refusal to let the Iranian people realize their full potential for fear of undermining the authority of the state.”

“Instead,” he continued, “you – the young people of Iran – carry within you both the ancient greatness of Persian civilization, and the power to forge a country that is responsive to your aspiration... >>>

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