Source: Mehr News Agency, Iran
The Persian New Year (Noruz) festivities were held in Sadabad Palace in Tehran on Saturday with participation of the presidents of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, and Turkmenistan.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with his Iraqi counterpart Jalal
Talebani, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and
Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamed attended the event convened for the
first time as the United Nations recognized Noruz as an international day on
February 23, 2010.
Several foreign ministers and high-ranking officials from ten countries are also guest to the celebrations.
A similar ceremony will be held in the ancient city of Shiraz on Sunday where they will tour the mausoleums of Saadi and Hafiz - the two great Persian poets - and the Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid or Chehel Minar).
Noruz is celebrated by 300 million people. In addition to Iran, it is celebrated in the two Persian-speaking countries of Tajikistan and Afghanistan as well as Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. It is also celebrated by Kurdish populations in Iraq and Turkey and other regional countries.
President Ahmadinejad told the ceremony that Noruz is an "inseparable part of our common culture". Ahmadinejad also said Noruz has the potential to deepen cultural relationship between all nations.
Noruz invites all to shun bad thoughts and hostilities and cherish goodness and beauties, Ahmadinejad noted.
Noruz is sending the message that the era of sadness is over and a life full of peace and friendship is blossoming, the president explained.
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