Political relations between the United States and post-Revolutionary Iran have been almost constantly in turmoil. Obama’s rise to power in the U.S. brought some hope for ‘change’ and a new drive for good in America’s relationship with Iran. This paper studies the four Persian New Year (Nowruz) messages of March 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, sent by U.S. President Barack Obama to the Iranian people. According to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the rhetoric of Obama has been different in his messages; namely, it has turned from a soft and friendly tone in the first Nowruz message to a more hostile one in his second and third messages. Writers argue that these shifts are due to the long-standing condition of mistrust and fluctuations in the U.S.-Iran relationship on the one hand, and domestic politics during these four years on the other. The fourth message (2012) is mixed with disapproval and blessings, very much due to the U.S. internal politics, as President Obama needs a calm Iran to win the 2012 election. These unprecedented rhetoric measures seemed as great changes toward rapprochement of the broken ties between Iran and the United States. However, the complex U.S. foreign policy decision-making process has paralyzed the President, preventing him from entering a totally different path versus Iran. Furthermore, domestic politics in the U.S. and Iran during the past years show that neither country were ready to set the tone of their politics in tune with a better relationship.

Keywords: Obama, Nowruz message, rhetoric, change, US, foreign policy, Iran