President Barack Obama is telling Iranians that this year is an “historic opportunity” to resolve the issue surrounding their country’s nuclear program.
In a message to the people of Iran in honor of their New Year Nowruz, Obama said this is the "best opportunity in decades" to pursue a different relationship between the United States and Iran.
"This moment may not come again soon. I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully - an opportunity we should not miss," the American President says.
Referring to the ongoing talks between Iran and the West as an end of the month deadline approaches, Obama said "the days and weeks ahead will be critical. Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain. And there are people, in both our countries and beyond, who oppose a diplomatic resolution."
"My message to you - the people of Iran - is that, together, we have to speak up for the future we seek," he said.
"This year, we have the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries," added Obama, who added that Iran's leaders have a choice between keeping their country on a path of isolation and sanctions or putting it on the road to more trade and investment with the rest of the world.
"This is what’s at stake today. And this moment may not come again soon. I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully - an opportunity we should not miss," he concluded.
Ongoing talks between Iran and the West are geared towards turning an interim 2013 deal into a permanent agreement.
Under the interim deal, Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.
Talks to reach a permanent deal have continuously stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed. Experts say that the new deadline - March 31 for a framework deal, July 1 for the full deal - has to be met.
The sides met in Switzerland again this week, but Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Wednesday played down the chances of reaching a nuclear agreement in this round of talks, hinting the negotiations will likely have to continue into next week or resume then after a break.