The U.S. Department of State sent its salutations to the Iranian people Thursday on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
"I'm privileged to join President Obama in wishing the people of Iran and all those who celebrate around the world -- from East Asia to the Persian Gulf region -- a happy, healthy, and prosperous Nowruz.
"All who celebrate Nowruz remember that it is not just an ancient tradition dating back over 3,000 years, but a time of renewal and hope. This season we reflect on the shared humanity that binds us together.
"My own family is stronger today because of the presence and love of Iranian-Americans, and I am proud of the family ties that we Americans have to Iran and its people. Here in America, we value the significant contributions that Iranian-Americans continue to make, whether it's in science, medicine, engineering, business, art, or so many other ways.
"On this Nowruz, we reaffirm our belief that strengthening cultural and academic ties between our two countries benefits our two peoples. Today, I am pleased to note that the Treasury Department will issue a new General License that will enhance educational ties between Iran and the United States through exchanges and the provision of new opportunities for Iranians to study in our country.
"It's not lost on any of us that the United States and Iran have endured harsh winters in our past, but gathering to welcome Spring and the New Year with friends and family is an opportunity to look forward to what can lie ahead with hard work and commitment. And it is our hope that the people of Iran will be able to fulfill their aspirations in their own society in the coming year.
"So as you gather with your loved ones around the Haft Seen Sofreh, the United States wishes you a joyous New Year filled with the hope for a better tomorrow.