Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council applauds the Senate which just moments ago, unanimously approved the Norooz Resolution (S.Res.463), granting official recognition for Norooz for the first time in Senate history.
In approving the resolution, the Senate joins the House, which passed a similar measure last Monday, in commemorating the Iranian New Year, celebrating Iran’s rich cultural traditions, expressing appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions to society, and wishing Iranian Americans and the Iranian people a prosperous new year. The Senate Resolution also encourages the peaceful observance of Norooz in Iran and expresses support for the rights of all Iranians to exercise freedom of assembly, expression, and speech.
“Congressional recognition of Norooz signifies not only the growing political strength of the Iranian-American community, but also demonstrates the increasingly critical role of Iranian Americans as the unofficial ambassadors of Iranian culture and heritage in the U.S,” said Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. “In honoring Norooz, Congress recognizes that Iran cannot be viewed merely through the prism of conflict with Iran’s government, but that we can foster mutual respect and cooperation directly with the Iranian people.”
Passage of the Norooz Resolution comes at a time in which Iranian Americans are helping place the Iranian people at the center of the policy debate on Iran.
In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has lifted sanctions that prevented Americans, including companies like Google and Microsoft, from sending Internet communication software to Iran. Similarly, Representative Keith Ellison has introduced unprecedented legislation, the Stand With the Iranian People Act (H.R.4303), that would reform sanctions that unintentionally punish Iranians by barring U.S. humanitarian organizations from working in Iran.
“As the world has watched Iranians bravely stand up for their rights over the past ten months, policymakers have begun to recognize the human face of Iran,” noted Dr. Parsi. “Iranian Americans are helping to reveal that face and to amplify those voices that have for too long been obscured in our Iran policy considerations.”
NIAC worked with the Norooz Resolution’s lead sponsors, Senators Robert Menendez and John Cornyn to ensure the Norooz Resolution had broad, bipartisan support to move through the Senate. The Norooz Resolution was cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jim Webb (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Roland Burris (D-IL), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).