The US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden held a reception on Monday celebrating Newroz, the traditional new year marking the start of the spring celebrated by both Kurds and Iranians.
“Today, Jill and I send our best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz across the United States and around the world—from the Middle East, to Central and South Asia, to the Caucasus, to Europe,” Joe Biden said in his statement marking Newroz.
“This year, Newroz comes at a difficult time for many families, when hope is needed more than ever—including for the women of Iran who are fighting for their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he added.
During the reception, the US president emphasised that this was the first Newroz celebration hosted by the White House, adding that he had observed the traditional celebrations in many places in the Middle East during his visits, including Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region in north Iraq.
“The start of a new year reminds us of hope and what lies a head given those darkest times so many of you have been through. We know that this year’s holiday comes at a difficult time for many families, hope where it is needed for more than ever is gonna be coming. Hope for families in Turkey and Syria who grieving for the loss of far too many loved ones from that devastating earthquake. Hope for the people of Afghanistan who continue to struggle with the grave humanitarian crisis. Hope for women in Iran who are fighting for their human rights,” Biden said during the reception.
The United States stands with those brave woman in Iran who are inspiring the world with their conviction and courage, the US president said, promising to hold all Iranian officials accountable.
Iranian pop singer and songwriter Shervin Hajipour’s song Berate was played at the beginning of reception, which has become the unofficial anthem of women’s protests in Iran.
“For the feeling of peace, for the sun after these long nights, for women, life, and freedom, freedom, for freedom, for freedom. Those lyrics are so powerful, aren’t they,” asked Jill Biden in the beginning of her speech, repeating the lyrics of the song.
The first lady reminded that Hajipour was arrested for his song for which won a Grammy last February.
“Today, as the battle cry of “women, life, freedom” continues to reverberate around the world, we cannot celebrate the renewal of spring without thinking of them. This new year, they, too, should be surrounded by support and kindness,” Biden said, referring to the slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi”, another symbol of protests in Iran.
“So, to the girls and women of Iran, I want to say: Your song sings in our hearts. We see your struggle, and we stand with you. You are not alone,” she said.