On SeezDeh Bedar, the thirteenth day of Nowruz, Iranians completed their New Year celebration. Marking the day, U.S. State Department Deputy spokesman Tom Casey extended the best wishes of the United States to the Iranian people. In a written statement, Mr. Casey said, “At this special time, we want to convey to the people of Iran our desire for peace and deeper mutual understanding between our two nations.”
Americans have the utmost respect for the Iranian people with their rich and proud history, said Mr. Casey. “King Cyrus set a historical precedent by embracing religious tolerance and ending the enslavement of conquered peoples over 2,500 years ago. Throughout the centuries, Iran’s poets, scientists, mathematicians, and Islamic scholars have made significant contributions to civilization,” he said.
Since Iran’s Constitutional Revolution early in the twentieth century, Iranians have fought for democracy, ”a struggle,” said Mr. Casey, “still carrying on today. We will continue supporting the aspirations of Iran’s citizens to express their opinions freely and practice their faiths openly without fear of imprisonment or retribution.”
At the start of Nowruz, President George W. Bush also had a message for the people of Iran:
“We respect the traditions of Iran, the great history of Iran. We have differences with the government, but we honor the people, and we want the people to live in a free society. We believe freedom is a right for all people and that the freer the world is, the more peaceful the world is.”
“Please don’t be discouraged by the slogans that say America doesn’t like you,” Mr. Bush told the Iranian people in an interview on VOA’s Persian News Network. “We do, and we respect you.”