Nowruz 2018

by By VOA  2018-03-24 00:00:00

The ancient spring festival of Nowruz is currently being celebrated around the world, by, among others, Afghans, Azeris, Americans, Chinese, Iraqis, Kurds, Pakistanis, Persians, and the peoples of Central Asia.

In a statement on Nowruz, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan welcomed the arrival of spring by gathering “around the Haftsin, cooking, feasting, dancing, singing, and spending time with family and friends.” He wished “peace, freedom, and prosperity to all.”

President Donald Trump also wished millions of people around the world “a beautiful and blessed Nowruz.”

Iranians shop for hyacinths, garlic, sprouts and other items used to celebrate the Iranian New in northern Tehran. (March 19, 2018.)Iranians shop for hyacinths, garlic, sprouts and other items used to celebrate the Iranian New in northern Tehran. (March 19, 2018.)

But both the Deputy Secretary and the President had special messages for the people of Iran. Deputy Secretary Sullivan said over the past year, he has drawn inspiration from the Iranian people “who are making their voices heard by protesting for freedom, dignity and respect for human rights.” President Trump praised Iranians for the strength of their culture and resilience, which has allowed them to overcome great challenges throughout their long history. Today, he said, they face another challenge: “rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people.”

President Trump singled out the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, in particular, for condemnation.

“The IRGC is not Iranian in name or deed,” President Trump said in a Nowruz statement. “It is a hostile army that brutalizes and steals from the Iranian people to fund terrorism abroad. Since 2012, the IRGC has spent more than $16 billion of Iran's wealth to prop up the Assad regime and support militants and terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Meanwhile the average Iranian family is 15 percent poorer today than it was 10 years ago, and 30 percent of Iran's youth are unemployed.”

President Trump also excoriated the IRCG for corruption and mismanagement, and for repressing the Iranian people's “rights to free assembly, access to information and equal opportunity.”

“Despite the oppression they face,” President Trump said, “Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights. They long for a spring time of hope, and the United States stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world and have a responsible and accountable government that truly serves their nation's interests.”

“On behalf of the American people,” said President Trump, “may light prevail over darkness in this New Year, and may the Iranian people soon enjoy a new day of peace, prosperity and joy.”

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