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      Iran, U.S. does not need to be divided, Obama says

      Iran, U.S. does not need to be divided, Obama says

      WASHINGTON (AP/ ABC 7) - President Barack Obama is telling the Iranian people that there is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided.

      In a message marking the Persian new year, known as Nowruz, Obama said "there is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another. Here in the United States, Iranian-Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture."

      The president also said that{}he wants Iranians to know that "America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations." He called on the Iranian government to stop blocking its citizens' access to outside information and to respect their universal rights.

      Obama's remarks come amid heightened tensions over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. The president says that if the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed back into the international community.

      Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and says it does not seek a bomb.