WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged the Iranian government to "open the door," saying the United States wanted a relationship based on mutual interests and respect.
"It is time for the Iranian government to decide whether it wants to focus on the past, or whether it will make the choices that will open the door to greater opportunity, prosperity, and justice for its people," said Obama in a statement marking the 30th anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis, in which 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from Nov. 4, 1979 after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Although the event helped set the two countries on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust, and confrontation, "I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect," said Obama.
"Iran must choose. We have heard for 30 years what the Iranian government is against; the question, now, is what kind of future it is for," said the president, adding: "If Iran lives up to the obligations that every nation has, it will have a path to a more prosperous and productive relationship with the international community."
In April 1980, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Iran and imposed sanctions.
The United States claims Iran intends to secretly develop nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its nuclear plan is only for peaceful purposes, and continues its uranium enrichment activity despite pressure from the international community.
Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis