US President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued belated best wishes to those celebrating the Persian New Year.
In a statement, the outspoken critic of the Iranian regime sent “best wishes to all those around the world celebrating the wonderful ancient holiday of Nowruz.”
This year the Persian New Year, or Nowruz, fell on Tuesday, March 21.
“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.
“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 added.
Pres. Trump: "To the Iranian people and all those around the world celebrating Nowruz…I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth." pic.twitter.com/BYVeusADNQ
— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2017
President Barack Obama also issued such well wishes every year, in a bid to break through to Iranians skeptical about US intentions.
The US and Iranian governments still have no formal diplomatic relations, despite a recent deal that saw Iran curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The government in Iran often whips up anti-US sentiment, something that Trump has appeared willing to reciprocate.
In its early days in office, Trump’s administration put Iran “on notice” that the US would take a tougher line against Iranian actions across the Middle East.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.