Obama asks Iran to seize 'historic opportunity' of N-deal

President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Iran to seize the "historic opportunity" of reaching a deal with the world powers on its contested nuclear programme.

United Nations: President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Iran to seize the "historic opportunity" of reaching a deal with the world powers on its contested nuclear programme.

"America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them. This can only happen if Iran takes this historic opportunity," Obama said in his annual address at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly.

"My message to Iran?s leaders and people is simple: do not let this opportunity pass. We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful," he said.

Negotiations between Iran and six powers, known as the P5+1 - Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany - are currently at a critical juncture.

The West fears that Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons, a charge denied by Tehran.

Terming the "status quo" in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as "not sustainable", Obama vowed that America will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians and the region will be "more just" with two states living side by side, in peace and security.

"As bleak as the landscape appears, America will never give up the pursuit of peace. The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home," Obama said.

Obama underscored that the task of rejecting sectarianism and extremism ultimately "is a generational task" for the people of the Middle East themselves.

"No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds. But America will be a respectful and constructive partner. We will neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power.

"Instead, we will take action against threats to our security ? and our allies ? while building an architecture of counter-terrorism cooperation," he said.

Using his address to speak directly to the young people across the Muslim world, Obama said that they come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder.

"Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it," he said.

He addressed the Ebola crisis, saying the US is deploying its doctors and scientists, supported by its military to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments.

He called on the international community to join hands to fight the outbreak which has impacted the lives of millions across West Africa.

Obama said, the "only lasting solution to Syria?s civil war is political ? an inclusive political transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity or creed."

Obama reiterated that America "is and will continue" to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations. 

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