The ancient spring festival of Nowruz is currently being celebrated by millions of people around the world, including Iranians, Kurds, Afghans, Azeris, Americans, and the peoples of Central Asia. Secretary of State John Kerry sent his best wishes to them all for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
“Nowruz,” he said, “is a time of renewal and reconciliation – a chance for families to celebrate their heritage and culture; reflect on the past twelve months; and look forward to the year ahead.”
In his Nowruz greeting, President Barack Obama again used the occasion to speak directly to the people Iran.
“Over the years, you’ve heard me say that the United States was prepared to engage with Iran in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. Well, that’s exactly what we did. In the last few years our diplomats and nuclear scientists sat down together and negotiated face-to-face. And last summer, along with our international partners, we reached the historic deal on Iran’s nuclear program.”
President Obama noted that Iran has fulfilled key commitments under the deal – rolling back critical parts of its nuclear program and agreeing to verification measures to assure the world its nuclear program is and will remain, peaceful. In return the international community lifted certain sanctions on Iran:
“Iran now has the opportunity to begin reintegrating itself with the global economy. That means more trade and investment, which will mean more jobs, including for young Iranians who dream of pursuing their careers and making their mark on the world.”
President Obama stressed that the nuclear deal will not solve all the disputes between Iran and the United States. “But even as our two governments continue to have serious disagreements,” he said, “the fact that we are now talking to each other on a regular basis, for the first time in decades, gives us an opportunity…to solve other issues.”
In addressing the Iranian people, President Obama spoke of his historic trip this week to Cuba, “My visit,” he said, “will be a reminder that, even after decades of mistrust, it is possible for old adversaries to start down a new path.”
“As you and your families welcome the new spring this Nowruz…I hope that the friendship and ties between the American and Iranian people will continue to grow.”