US President Donald Trump, who has sought to ban travellers from Iran and other Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, issued a holiday greeting on Wednesday to Iranians celebrating the Persian New Year holiday known as Nowruz.
“For many years, I have greatly enjoyed wonderful friendships with Iranian-Americans, one of the most successful immigrant groups in our country’s contemporary history,” he said.
“Nowruz means ‘new day’ in Persian. It is an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for so many Iranians who have come to our country in recent decades to make a new start in a free land,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
Nowruz is Iran’s most important national event and is celebrated with family gatherings, vacations and gift-giving.
Trump has taken a hard line on immigration, both as a presidential candidate and since taking office. He tried twice with executive orders to prevent people from several Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the United States, and he has promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.
The latest order sought a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump’s administration has said it would appeal after a federal judge struck down parts of the ban on the day it was set to go into effect.