Canada Wishes Iranians Happy Nowruz

March 19, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement in advance of the first day of spring in the Persian calendar:

“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to wish the people of Iran a very happy Nowruz.

“As this day ushers in a new beginning, I sincerely wish that all Iranians will enjoy a year that brings them good health, prosperity and happiness.

“For years, we have witnessed these hopes dashed by Iran’s government because of its refusal to give its people the human rights and dignity they deserve. Over the last year, we saw the election of President Hassan Rouhani. While his tone is more constructive than his predecessor’s, we must judge progress by demonstrable actions—not just words.

“Although we’ve seen the pardoning of a few prisoners, it is undeniable that the situation of human rights in Iran has not improved under Rouhani’s watch. In fact, all evidence suggests that the rate of executions in Iran has increased dramatically and that due process and the rule of law remain elusive.

“Gruesome and inhumane public executions continue, and a country known for its poetry is now executing its poets. Poets like Hashem Shabani, an Arab-Iranian poet from the Persian Gulf province of Khuzestan and an activist for minority rights.

“The New Year is a time of promise and potential. I hope that the Iranian government will seize this moment and grant the Iranian people the rights, dignity and respect that they deserve.

“Nowruz Pirooz!”

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