Khamenei, Rouhani Speeches on Nowruz

On March 20-21, 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 praised Iran’s resilience in the face of U.S. and European sanctions but also acknowledged that the struggling economy is the “main problem” facing the country. He cited currency devaluation and inefficient management as key issues. Khamenei called for boosting domestic production to improve the economy. “If production is boosted, it can solve livelihood problems, it can ensure the country’s independence from foreigners and from the enemies, it can eliminate unemployment and it can solve the problems related to the decrease in the value of the national currency to a great extent,” he said.

In a separate televised address, Khamenei accused Europe of failing to stand up to the United States following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He accused Europe of stabbing Iran in the back with its creation of Instex, a financial channel that has yet to facilitate significant trade with the Islamic Republic.


President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States for the country’s problems but said the responsibility lies with Iranians. “Someone might ask until when these problems and sanctions will be there? I would like to tell the great Iranian nation that problems have started by the enemies and those who have recently come to power in Washington, but the end is at our hands,” said Rouhani.

On March 20, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the celebration of Nowruz “testifies to the character, spirit and magnanimity of our people that they celebrate amid unprecedented, inhumane and illegal sanctions and pressures.” In a video message, he argued that the United States was using “medieval tactics” to “destroy” Iranian livelihoods. The following are statements by top Iranian leaders.


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

KhameneiIn the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

O’ the Conqueror of hearts and sights

O’ the Planner of night and day

O’ the Transformer of power and conditions

Transform our condition to the best of conditions!

I thank God for ordaining that I may congratulate the dear Iranian nation on this year’s Nowruz, which coincides with the auspicious birth anniversary of the Commander of the Faithful and Imam of the Pious (a.s.).

Dear compatriots, may this eid be an auspicious one for you. I hope that all of you will pass this year with happiness, with physical health, with joyful hearts and with increasing worldly and spiritual achievements, God willing.

I especially wish to congratulate the esteemed families of the martyrs, the dear disabled war veterans and their families. And I would like to send abundant greetings to the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam [Khomeini] and to the pure souls of the martyrs.

We experienced an eventful year. In the year that passed, the Iranian nation shone brightly in the true sense of the word. The enemies devised many plans. They had many plots for the Iranian nation. However, the solidity and insight of the nation and the determination of the youth foiled their plans. In the face of the harsh and – according to their own words – ‘unprecedented’ sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe, the Iranian nation gave a solid and powerful response both in the arena of politics and in the arena of the economy.

In the arena of politics, the manifestation of that response was the great 22nd of Bahman rally [February 11] and the people’s positions throughout the year. As for the people’s position in the economic confrontation, it was manifested through an increase in scientific and technical innovations, a substantial increase in the number of knowledge-based companies and an increase in infrastructural and fundamental products of the country, an example of which is the inauguration of different phases of the South Pars gas field just a few days ago and before that, the inauguration of the large Bandar Abbas Refinery and other such tasks.

Therefore, the people managed to show their power, their grandeur and their greatness in the face of the enmity and malevolence of the enemies and thereby - thank God - increase the reputation of our nation, our Revolution and our Islamic Republic.

The main problem of the country continues to be economic problems. Especially in recent months, people’s livelihood problems have increased. Part of these problems is related to inefficient management in the area of economic matters, which should definitely be compensated for. Certain plans and measures have been devised. By Allah’s favor, these measures should be implemented throughout this year – the year that begins from this moment: the year 1398 – and the people should feel the impact.

What I would like to mention in this regard is that the country’s urgent and serious matter and its priority in the present time is the issue of the economy. Regarding the economy, the issues that we have are many: the issue of the decrease in the value of the national currency is an important matter. The same is true of people’s purchasing power. The same condition exists regarding factories, their lowered capacity and the closing down of some of them. These are the problems. Based on research and having benefitted from the viewpoints of experts, one concludes that the key to all these problems is the expansion of national production.

I named the year 1397, “The Year of Support for Iranian Products.” I cannot say that this slogan was fully implemented, but what I can say is that it was well received to a great extent, and in many cases, the people welcomed and acted on it. This will certainly exert its influence. This year, the issue of production is of great importance. I would like to make the issue of production the pivot of our activities. By Allah’s favor, in my new year’s speech, I will explain what I mean by ‘production’. If production is boosted, it can solve livelihood problems, it can ensure the country’s independence from foreigners and from the enemies, it can eliminate unemployment and it can solve the problems related to the decrease in the value of the national currency to a great extent.

That is why I believe that the issue of production is a pivotal issue this year. Therefore, the slogan I have chosen for this year is: “The Year of Boosting Production.” Everyone should try to do what they can to boost production in the country. By Allah’s favor, from the beginning to the end of the year, this notion should be completely tangible in the country. If this happens, we hope that the solution to economic problems will be achieved, God willing.

I wish to send my heartfelt peace and greetings to the Imam of the Time (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). I plead for the prayers of that noble personality for you dear people and I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow happiness and bliss on the Iranian nation and all those nations who celebrate Nowruz.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings!

—March 21, 2019, in an address


—March 21, 2019, in a speech at the shrine of Imam Reza

President Hassan Rouhani

Rouhani“Do not doubt that we will overcome all issues and achieve victory through more efforts.”

“The basis of disorder and our problems is enemies, entering our country from outside the borders.”

“Today, we are in a battlefield, in which all people should participate in, absence of even one person can incur losses.”

“The government will announce its new programs in the first days of the New Year.”

“Nowruz means greenness, freshness and leaving the hard days of winter behind, and entering the atmosphere of spring and moderation.”

“Last year was the year of victory against terrorism, the year of victory of the Iranian nation at international organizations and the international court, the year of resistance of the people of Iran and glorious points in history such as February 11.”

“Anti-Iranians thought that they could reach all their goals on November 4, celebrating their victory in Iran on February 11. But all of these days were the days of our victory and the enemies’ failure.”

“Paying attention to less important instead of more important issues is the gravest strategic mistake in life.”

“When the enemy is before us, if we attack right or left, we have indeed inflicted losses on our own forces.”

“The government, other branches, the armed forces, universities, academia, farmers, workers, producers, and people from all walks of life must feel responsible in these conditions.”

“Someone might ask until when these problems and sanctions will be there? I would like to tell the great Iranian nation that problems have started by the enemies and those who have recently come to power in Washington, but the end is at our hands.”

“The enemy thought that the entire world and its allies would stand by it in these sanctions, but we saw that all countries, except for a few countries, stood by the Iranian nation.”

“Great people of Iran! We have not started this; we are a great nation who have been loyal to our promises and adhered to our vows. Those who broke their promise, showed their true identity.”

“New Year is the year of new decisions, more integrity and effort.”

“Last year, I visited 10 provinces and I saw people’s passion, vigilance and awareness in all visits.”

“I am happy that among 12 foreign visits that I had last year, my first visits started with neighbors: from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and my last visits ended with neighbors as well: Russia and Iraq.”

“Wherever I went as the representative of the great Iranian nation, we saw respect from the side of their people and authorities. This means that those who imposed sanctions on us failed.”

“Oh the Almighty, keep our minds and tongues away from violence, division and fault-finding.”

—March 21, 2019, in an address


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Tomorrow, we Iranians—and others in our region and beyond—celebrate Nowruz, marking the coming of spring and the beginning of our Persian new year. It testifies to the character, spirit and magnanimity of our people that they celebrate amid unprecedented, inhumane and illegal sanctions and pressures. Indeed, despite the medieval tactics employed by the U.S. to destroy their livelihoods, they are unwavering in their sense of hope.

This is of course not new: as our people have shown seven consecutive American presidents, we Iranians don’t just persevere in the face of adversity. Rather, we seize on it as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, and to advance.

Nowruz represents the culture of constant renewal and hope. We not only celebrate the renewal of nature, but resolve to renew our thoughts, deeds and efforts for a brighter future for ourselves, our loved ones, our nation and indeed our planet. This year, we in government are at the forefront of this tradition as we reaffirm our endeavor to do better for our people – whether at home or abroad.

In the coming year, Iranians will experience the dividends of an emerging economy of resilience that will increasingly shield their livelihoods. This economy will be signified by greater connectivity, efficiency, transparency – and perhaps most importantly, accountability. In parallel, we will continue to engage with our partners to, brick by brick, dismantle the inhumane wall that the U.S. administration has labored to erect around us. Make no mistake: We rely solely on our own people to overcome any challenges. But we also welcome constructive engagement, including with the expanding array of nations who are equally sick and tired of the bullying of the U.S. Whether via closer engagement with our neighbors or our partners in the nuclear deal and beyond, we will continue to assume our place as a safe and reliable center for trade and commerce in a troubled region.

We are under no illusion that the path ahead is easy, but I will remind those who wish us harm that Iranians have celebrated more than 3000 New Days - and will celebrate countless more before submitting to outside diktats, let alone those issued by an increasingly isolated power, which is today out of touch with the realities of our post-Western world.

We Iranians have proudly outlived many aggressors, but our people have consistently shown a strong preference for less regional and global tension and more dialogue and constructive engagement.

To all my Iranian compatriots and all those celebrating in the “World of Nowruz”, I would like to extend my wishes for a happier, healthier and more hopeful New Year. With faith and hope, Iranians have shown that there is nothing that can stop us from pursuing a brighter future. As Rumi has said: آمد بهار عاشقان، تا خاکدان بستان شود آمد ندای آسمان، تا مرغ جان پران شود 

“The springtime of Lovers has come, that this dust bowl may become a garden; the proclamation of heaven has come, that the bird of the soul may rise in flight.” (A.J. Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi, P. 93)

Happy New Year to All of You.

—March 20, 2019, in a video message


Click here for Nowruz messages from President Trump and other Western leaders.