The ancient spring festival of Nowruz is currently being celebrated by millions around the world, including Iranians, Kurds, Afghans, Azeris, Americans, and the peoples of Central Asia. Secretary of State John Kerry has sent his best wishes to them for a healthy and prosperous New Year.
“All who celebrate Nowruz remember that it is not just an ancient tradition dating back over 3,000 years, but a time of renewal and hope,” said Mr. Kerry. “This season, we reflect on the shared humanity that binds us together.”
As he has in past years, President Barack Obama used the occasion to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran:
“Since taking office, I’ve offered the Iranian government an opportunity – if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”
Last year, Mr. Obama said, the Iranian people made their voices heard when they elected Hassan Rouhani, as their president –- a man who pledged to strengthen the economy, improve the lives of the Iranian people, and engage constructively with the international community.
Since then, for the first time in more than thirty years, a president of the United States and a leader of Iran have spoken together, noted Mr. Obama. Now the United States and its partners are engaged in intense negotiations with Iran, attempting to find a comprehensive solution that resolves the world’s concerns with the Iranian nuclear program:
“A comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue – and an Iran that upholds universal rights, at home and abroad – would help move Iran along the new path that so many Iranians seek.”
That path, said President Obama, will mean opportunities for Iranians to trade and forge ties with the world; more economic growth and jobs; more opportunities for students to travel abroad and build new partnerships that will help realize Iran’s incredible potential.
“If Iran seizes this moment,” Mr. Obama said, “this Nowruz could mark, not just the beginning of a new year, but a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world – including a better relationship with the United States and the American people, rooted in mutual interest and mutual respect.”