WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has sent congratulations to mark Norouz, the Persian New Year, passing on good wishes to "all those around the world celebrating the wonderful ancient holiday."
In a March 22 statement released by the White House, Trump wished "freedom, dignity, and wealth" to "the Iranian people and all those around the world celebrating" Norouz.
Trump made his fierce criticism of the Iranian government a central pillar of the 2016 presidential campaign that brought him into the White House through the November election.
Throughout the campaign he vowed to either tear up or renegotiate the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that lifted some sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on the nuclear program.
Iranian citizens were also included in controversial executive orders aimed at temporarily barring U.S. entry to travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries.
In his March 22 statement, Trump called Norouz "an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for so many Iranians who have come to our country in recent decades to make a new start in a free land."
IN PICTURES: Happy Norouz! Welcoming The Persian New Year (click to enter photo gallery)