On March 20, Iran’s top leaders marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, with televised addresses to the nation. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged that the past year featured “a mixture of peaks and troughs, sweet and bitter events, just like other stages of our lives.” He cited the severe and ongoing drought, an earthquake, transportation disasters and, most notably, “the livelihood problems of some social classes” that contributed to protests in 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces in December and January. As a result, he said the country’s main concern in the new year will be the economy and people’s livelihoods. “If national production is accelerated, many problems will be resolved,” including employment, investment, and “social detriments will decrease to a large extent.” The slogan of year 1397 is “Support for Iranian Products,” he announced.
New Year's slogan for 1397 is “Support for Iranian Products”. If national production is accelerated, many problems will be resolved. I have chosen this as the center of this year’s slogan.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 20, 2018
Full text of the message: https://t.co/atz7xU8i6T #Nowruz pic.twitter.com/6aG205bApa
President Hassan Rouhani echoed Khamenei’s theme in his address. “The new year is the year of investment and production,” he said. Rouhani included a message aimed at youth, many of whom are struggling to find jobs. Youth unemployment has hovered around 25 percent for more than a decade. “The government is committed to the employment, vitality and freedom for the young generation, and their continued access to information,” he pledged. The following are excerpts from Nowruz speeches.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O’ Conqueror of hearts and sight
O’ Planner of night and day
O’ Transformer of power and circumstances
Transform our condition to the best of conditions!
Dear God, give us your guidance, such guidance that you provide for your best-guided servants and feed us with the diligence of your diligent servants
I would like to congratulate all of our dear compatriots, in every part of the country, the planet, and other nations that celebrate Nowruz. In particular, I would like to congratulate the honorable families of martyrs, the dear disabled war veterans, and their families. I, especially, wish to congratulate the young, teenaged individuals of Iran who engender hope and pioneer the national movement of the country. I hope they have a joyous and sweet Nowruz and a year full of achievements and blessings.
This year, the Spring of Nature has coincided with the Spring of Spirituality. In other words, Farvardin, Ordibehesht, and Khordad (the three Persian months marking spring) have coincided with Rajab, Sha’ban, and Ramadan. I hope that this year, we will have both natural and spiritual growth for our country—God willing. This hope is being nurtured in our hearts that, by Allah’s favor, worldly and otherworldly saplings will prove to be a provision for this nation and country in the future. I wish to send my greetings to the Imam of Time (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Also, I commemorate and send my greetings to the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam [Khomeini].
I want to briefly discuss the years of 1396 and 1397 (2017-2018). Like all years, the year 1396 was a mixture of peaks and troughs, sweet and bitter events, just like other stages of our lives. These were the sweet events of the year 1396: the emergence of the people’s greatness and power and the national presence from the beginning to the end of the year. At the beginning of the year, we witnessed the very magnificent and dazzling presence of the people in presidential, city, and village council elections. More than 40 million people participated in the elections, that turnout was very impressive and meaningful. After that, we witnessed the Quds Day rally during the auspicious month of Ramadan, and at the end of the year we had the 9th of Dey rally (December 30), and, most importantly, there was the spectacular 22nd of Bahman (February 11) rally.
Of course, on the 9th of Dey, because of the commotion that broke out – I will refer to this later – the people staged voluntary and continuous rallies, in different cities of the country, all of which showed the presence of the great, insightful, sharp and prepared people of Iran, in all the areas that their presence is necessary.
Another important and sweet achievement, in the past year, was that the Islamic Republic managed to turn regional threats into great opportunities. The purpose of those threats–at least, one of the purposes–was to deliver a blow to the Islamic Republic; however, not only did those threats fail to harm the country, they became opportunities. Those who are aware of international issues understand this perfectly.
Another positive aspect was the effort made in the direction of reviving and utilizing the slogan of the year: National Production and Employment under the category of the Economy of Resistance [Economy of Resistance: Production and Employment]. Great tasks were carried out in the fields of employment and national production; however, there are many tasks left undone which should be taken care of. The goal of the slogan was implemented to some extent, but it should continue to perfection so, by Allah’s favor, the slogan's concept can become a reality.
We had some bitter events in the year 1396 as well. The earthquake incident, floods, an airplane crash and a ship collision incident in which some of our dear ones lost their lives. They were bitter events for us. Additionally, there was drought, in some areas of the country, which is still an ongoing issue. I hope that divine grace will make up for it in the spring. Moreover, the livelihood problems of some social classes have continued from the past. There should be a great effort–everyone should make an effort [so that these problems are solved]. I will refer to this matter, later on, with the hope that these problems will be eliminated, God willing.
During the final months of the year, certain disturbances were staged according to plans of the Iranian nation's enemies. However, [in a move against their plans] the Iranian people entered the arena voluntarily. Even individuals who were supposedly instigators of such disturbances, triggered by the enemies, entered the arena and stood up against the rioters. This was an incident wherein the greatness of the Iranian nation became clear on their stance.
As for the year 1397–the year that begins at this moment–what is important is that everyone should work hard. The maxims that I choose for different years, I usually address officials. This year, the masses of the people–including government officials–are addressed. As an introduction, I wish to say that the issues of the economy, culture, and various other issues are important; but, this year, our main concern is the issue of the economy and the problems surrounding the people’s livelihood. Everyone should endeavor, everyone should work hard, and the pivotal point is national production. If everyone pursues and follows up on the national production, according to the basis of an explanation that I will provide in the speech [Supreme Leader’s speech at Imam Ridha Shrine], then many economic problems and many problems of the people, regarding their livelihood–the issue of employment, investment, and other such issues–will be resolved, and social detriments will decrease to a large extent. The pivotal point is national production.
If national production is accelerated, many problems will be resolved. I have chosen this as the center of this year’s slogan. This year’s slogan is “Support for Iranian Products”: “The Year of Support for Iranian Products.” This is not only related to officials, all people from various social backgrounds can help in this area, and they can enter the arena in the real sense of the word. Of course, there are five, six dimensions for this support. By Allah’s favor, I will expand on these dimensions in my speech. God willing, I will discuss the things that people from various social backgrounds and the various officials of the country can do in this regards.
I hope that Allah the Exalted will help both officials and the people so that they can carry out their duties in the best way possible, and they can act on this year’s slogan–the slogan of “Support for Iranian Products” – in the true sense of the word.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings
—March 20, 2018, in a televised message (translation via Khamenei.ir)
President Hassan Rouhani
“As the Supreme Leader said, the new year is the year of national production, supporting Iranian goods and the year of employment and progress.”
“I congratulate the great Iranian nation in every corner of this country and all Iranians around the world, as well as those neighbouring countries that celebrate Nowruz.”
“We must remember those who have chosen to serve the people instead of sitting at home, doctors, nurses, pilots, drivers, border guards, the police and all those who are at the oil wells, control rooms of the ambulances, firefighter trucks and on the roads to serve the people.”
“Last year was the year of victory and success of the Iranian nation, especially during the elections.”
“At the time when the tragic incidents happened in the country, the great Iranian nation displayed another victory to the world.”
“When our people saw unrest on the streets and felt that the security of their society was in danger, they came on the stage and announced it clearly that criticism and protest are people’s right but they would not tolerate violence and unlawfulness.”
“But the unity of the Iranian nation surprised them and they admitted to the greatness of this nations.”
“Although we had shortage of water, but our farmers achieved self-sufficiency in wheat production and will do the same in the new year.”
“Our engineers and workers, and those who have been working in the railway projects in different provinces throughout the country, connected Hamedan and Kermanshah to the nationwide railway network and will do the same for three other provinces as well.”
“Although there are still many problems remaining, we have time to compensate for the past shortcomings.”
“Last year, our employment rate was unparalleled in the history of our country, and in the new year, we must mark a higher rate.”
“The 12th Government will continue to fight poverty. For all occupations, employees and workers we have worked towards balancing the minimum wages and will continue this programme.”
“The new year is the year of investment and production. We must all attempt to increase production. Our power will be alongside our production and it is our entrepreneurs who can take significant steps in the new year.”
“My next request is from our dear young generation, whom the future of the country belongs to, to continue working on the path of making the country proud. What is important for all of us is the pride of Islam and Iran, and the welfare and the Iranian nation.”
“The government is committed to the employment, vitality and freedom for the young generation, and their continued access to information.”
“Of course, we need a secure, easy and inexpensive cyberspace with morality and spirituality.”
—March 20, 2018, in Kermanshah during a televised address
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Nowruz heralds the arrival of spring & is the harbinger of rebirth & hope. For millennia, Iranians have been relentless in striving for the cause of good: "Bring the Spring we must; banish the Winter we should." I wish all celebrating #Nowruz a happy, healthy & peaceful new year. pic.twitter.com/dibgCTbV32— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 20, 2018