Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in the Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashgabat for an official day-long visit to attend an international event on the occasion of the Persian New Year.
The Iranian president, leading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in Ashgabat on Thursday at the invitation of his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow to participate in the 4th International Nowruz Festival, which will be held with the theme of peace and humanity.
The festival will kick off in Ashgabat later on Thursday in the presence of representatives from 12 countries; including presidents of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan; and the UN chief’s envoy.
Nowruz (new day) marks the New Year for a number of regional countries, including Iran and Turkmenistan.
During his visit, the Iranian president further plans to meet the leaders of some regional and neighboring countries that will also partake in the conference in Ashgabat to discuss expanding bilateral ties and cooperation.
In a press briefing before his departure, the president described Nowruz as a divine celebration, saying that “culture-rich Iran” has celebrated the occasion for thousands of years and this “celebration of humaneness” serves as a reminder of monotheism, love, justice, beauty and truth to human beings.
Iran’s chief executive is accompanied in the trip by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi; Presidential Advisor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who also chairs the secretariat of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); and Vice President for Executive Affairs Hamid Baqaie.
In Iran and many other countries people welcome spring with the ancient Nowruz celebrations. Nowruz coincides with the astronomical Vernal Equinox Day or the first day of spring.
The people of Turkmenistan have been celebrating Nowruz on the first two days of spring (March 21 and 22) since 1992.
The International Day of Nowruz was registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on February 23, 2010, and the festivities are now celebrated in many countries as far as the US and Canada.