Today marks the first day of Spring and is the first day of the Persian New Year. Nowruz, which literally translates to “new day” is a time of renewal, and is the first day in the Solar Calendar. Although Iranians are not the only nation and people who observe Nowruz, President Obama provides congratulatory remarks to the Iranian people each year through the White House website. Amidst continuing tensions between Iran and the US, President Obama focuses this year’s White House message on the war on cyberspace which Iran faces, acknowledging Iran’s need to lift the “electronic curtain”. The president laments that the very electronics and technological advances that are meant to make it easier for people to access information, are being used by the Islamic regime in order to isolate Iranians from the global community. Some declare the escalating cyber wars only prove evermore that the Islamic regime is fearful of the power the internet may provide the opposition and as such see it as a destabilizing threat. This year unlike last, President Obama seemed for the most part to leave politics out of the equation of his message. Many Iranians had much to say about President Obama’s Nowruz message from last year. So tell me, what are your thoughts this time around? To all Persian people around the globe celebrating this ancient holiday, happy Nowruz! Eide shoma mobarak. Nowruzetan pirouz, har ruzetan nowruz!
For further reading on Iran-related issues, here are my picks for some of the best I’ve read in the past week: