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Statments by the President to Afghan and Iranian People
March 20, 2002

I send warm greetings to Afghans and Afghan-Americans observing Nowruz.

This year's observance occurs during a period of trial, when the people of Afghanistan and the United States are joined in our determination to make the world safe from terrorism. Afghans have shown extraordinary courage in helping to rid their country of the Taliban and al-Qaida. We will continue to help Afghanistan become a stable, prosperous, and free country. And we will support Afghanistan in its effort to protect itself from becoming a base for international terrorism.

This Nowruz will be particularly special to millions of Afghans. Throughout their history, Afghans have observed Nowruz. But the Taliban had forbidden Afghans from following this treasured part of their heritage. Next week, for the first time in many years, Afghans will be free once more to celebrate this time-honored tradition.

Afghanistan's observance of the traditional New Year honors an ancient and storied history and marks a time of renewal. As the season changes, may the observance of Nowruz serve as a special time for Afghans to enjoy their new found freedom and the company of family and friends.

Best wishes for a memorable Nowruz.



I send warm greetings to Iranian Americans and the Iranian people observing Nowruz, the traditional Persian New Year.

This year's observance occurs at a time when our Nation is united in its determination to make the world safe from terrorism. The community of more than one million Iranian Americans has fully participated in this noble endeavor by condemning the terrorist acts, participating in rescue efforts at ground zero, and offering help and support to the victims, who included individuals of Persian heritage.

From arts and education to industry and science, Iranian Americans have made significant and enduring contributions to the cultural and civic life of our Nation. Your observance of the traditional Persian New Year honors an ancient and storied history and marks a time of renewal. As the season changes, may your observance of Nowruz serve as a special time for you to reflect on your rich heritage and to enjoy the company of family and friends.

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