- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli President Shimon Peres has sent a rare greeting to the people of Iran praising them and saying they would be better off without their hard-line leadership.

In the taped audio message, Peres lauds Iran’s ancient culture and urges what he calls the “noble Iranian nation” to “return to its rightful place among developed nations.”

The greeting marking Iran’s Nowruz holiday was broadcast Friday on the Voice of Israel’s Farsi-language station. The station is beamed to Iran, but it is unclear how many Iranians had heard it.

It coincided with President Barack Obama’s video message to Iran in which he appealed to Iranians to shift away from decades of confrontation.

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