Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.
President Obama made a direct appeal to the Iranian people on Tuesday, telling them that there is "no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another" and stressing "the common humanity we share."
In a video marking the Persian new year, known as Nowruz, Obama also said that the U.S. was eager to hear directly from the Iranian people and criticized the Islamic Republic for using an "electronic curtain" of media censorship to keep its citizens in the dark.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also marked the holiday with an address to the Iranian people, although there didn't appear to be any sight of an olive branch meant for the U.S. or its allies within his remarks.
In a speech broadcast on state television he warned that Iran would respond to any attack with a counter-attack "on the same level." CNN explains that, as is the norm for the supreme leader, his remarks were mostly made up of "declarations of Iran's greatness and the West's inability to tear down the Islamic revolution's achievements."
The Nowruz messages came amid heightened tension over Iran's nuclear program—which the West remains highly skeptical of despite Iran's claim that it is meant only for civilian purposes—and Israel's failure to rule out a pre-emptive attack on the Islamic Republic.