News / Middle East

Iran Marks New Year Holiday

In this photo released by official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, Iran, March 20, 2013.
In this photo released by official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, Iran, March 20, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a televised speech to mark the Persian New Year, as most Iranians spent time with friends and family, preparing traditional foods for the Nowruz holiday. 
 
The ayatollah's annual message was interspersed with greetings, wishes for a better future and angry diatribes against the West. 
 
He said that life has its ups and downs, but what is important is that we arrive at the ups. He said that last year was marked by a conflict with Iran's enemies and that those enemies targeted both its political system and its economy, trying to hinder it with their sanctions. 
 
Khamenei went on to urge his countrymen to work harder and invest more. He told them to “persevere, stay optimistic and be enthusiastic.”  Iran's upcoming June presidential election, he said, will create a “road map” for the country over the next four years. 

President Obama's Nowruz Message
 

U.S. President Barack Obama also spoke to the Iranian people for Nowruz, saying in a taped message released on Monday that the United States would like better relations with Iran, despite the differences, including over Tehran's controversial nuclear program: 
 
"I have had no illusions about the difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust. It will take a serious and sustained effort to resolve the many differences between Iran and the United States. This includes the world’s serious and growing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, which threatens peace and security in the region and beyond," he said. 
 
Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful while the West suspects it is working toward development of a nuclear weapon. Obama said the U.S. is eager to find a diplomatic solution. 
 
“The United States prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically. Indeed, if -as Iran’s leaders say- their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for a practical solution. It’s a solution that would give Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while resolving once and for all the serious questions that the world has about the true nature of the Iranian nuclear program," he said. 
 
An Iranian man reads the Koran beside a traditional table 'Haft Seen' or 'Seven S', before the start of the Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year in Tehran March 20, 2009.An Iranian man reads the Koran beside a traditional table 'Haft Seen' or 'Seven S', before the start of the Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year in Tehran March 20, 2009.
x
An Iranian man reads the Koran beside a traditional table 'Haft Seen' or 'Seven S', before the start of the Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year in Tehran March 20, 2009.
An Iranian man reads the Koran beside a traditional table 'Haft Seen' or 'Seven S', before the start of the Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year in Tehran March 20, 2009.
Iranians, meanwhile, marked Nowruz with dance, music and traditional meals to celebrate the start of the new year. 
 
Analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute says many of Iran's political leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are trying to promote traditional Persian holidays like Nowruz to focus on nationalism rather than the more religious aspects of the country's Islamic Republic. 
 
"People such as Ahmadinejad the last few years, and people around Ahmadinejad who hope to be in office after June, are basically saying 'We are not sure if the clergy should be at the center, any more, and the way they challenge the rule of the clergy is by saying: 'Let's put Iran and Iranian nationalism and things like Nowruz, first," he said. 
 
Iran's Nowruz holiday lasts for thirteen days of family gatherings and outings.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mohammad H Farahani from: Toronto, Canada
March 21, 2013 12:24 AM
Norooz 1392 just arrived. Let's celebrate and saying "Happy Norooz" to all mankind in anywhere on this planet without any border. I do believe that this is philosophy of NOROOZ. HAPPY NOROOZ


by: canadianpersian from: Canada
March 20, 2013 1:46 PM
Happy Persian New Year, and Happy first day of Spring to all! :)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid