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The U.S. Congress is considering a first-of-its kind resolution that congratulates Iranians and Iranian-Americans on the Norouz holiday.

Representative Mike Honda (Democrat-California), who represents voters in a northern California district, authored the resolution, which reads: "[To recognize] the cultural and historical significance of Norouz, expressing appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions to society, and wishing Iranian Americans and the people of Iran a prosperous new year."

The National Iranian American Council said the resolution "is an effort to send a positive signal from the U.S. Congress to the people of Iran."

That's important, the council said, "given President [Barack] Obama's efforts to create a new atmosphere between the United States and other nations."

The resolution is simply an expression of opinion by Congress. It was sent to a committee for discussion.

Norouz -- which marks the first day of spring and usually celebrated on March 22 -- is also a holiday in the five Central Asian states and Afghanistan, among others.

-- Heather Maher

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