Iran has ushered in the new Persian year of 1396, with President Hassan Rouhani underlining the need for interaction and peace in his message to the leaders of 11 countries that also mark the occasion.
“The world, today more than any time, needs a hope which values affection, love and intimacy and invites countries to interaction instead of confrontation,” Rouhani said on Monday in the message released by his office.
The message was separately sent to the leaders of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Uzbekistan, his office said.
The countries inaugurated Nowruz on Monday to the much-anticipated accompaniment of fireworks. Iran usually begins the New Year with a televised message by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“Nations by resorting to hope, peace and tranquility can interact with each other under the light of unity and confront the ugly and obscene image arising from misinterpretation of religion, the result of which is terrorism and sectarian extremism,” Rouhani said.
The Iranian president cited peace and unity as the demand of “moderate nations” that mark the ancient festival of Nowruz.
“Nowruz is the most beautiful celebration of nature which, with the transition of winter to spring, brings hope and lush as a gift,” Rouhani said.
“This festival is the symbol of moderation, peace, warmth, light, abundance and freshness that God the Almighty has bestowed to man – a moderation which is rooted in natural developments, religious beliefs and principles of the benevolent Islam,” he added.
Nowruz, Iran’s most important holiday, is rooted in ancient culture and marked by large family gatherings, gifts for children, vacations and spring cleaning, called ‘house shaking’ in Persian.