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President Obama / Susan Walsh, AP

President Obama delivered his annual Nowruz message to the people of Iran on Thursday, and he included a pitch for a long-term agreement on Tehran's nuclear program.

If Tehran "meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations," Obama said in a video message.

Nowruz is the holiday marking the Persian new year.

The United States, its allies and Iran are in the midst of a temporary agreement in which Iran ends some uranium enrichment procedures in exchange for some lessening of sanctions. The parties are now discussing a long-term deal.

"As I've said before, I'm under no illusions," Obama said. "This will be difficult. But I'm committed to diplomacy because I believe there is the basis for a practical solution."

Iran says its nuclear program is designed to produce energy.

Lawmakers in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere say Iran is seeking the means to make nuclear weapons.

An agreement in which Iran renounces nuclear weapons would open economic opportunities for the nation and re-engagement with the world, Obama said.

"If Iran seizes this moment, this Nowruz could mark not just the beginning of a new year, but a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world," Obama said, "including a better relationship with the United States and the American people, rooted in mutual interest and mutual respect."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama promotes Iran nuclear deal in Nowruz message

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