Iran’s president off to Turkmenistan to attend Nowruz event

Iran Materials 21 March 2013 12:27 (UTC +04:00)

Leading a high-ranking delegation, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has departed Tehran for Turkmenistan's capital of Ashgabat for an official visit, Press TV reported.

President Ahmadinejad left Tehran Thursday morning for a one-day visit to Iran's northeastern neighbor at the invitation of his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow to participate in the International Nowruz Festival, which will be held with the theme of peace and humanity.

Nowruz, the first day of spring, 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.

The international Nowruz celebration was held in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe last year and in Tehran a year before that.

Leaders and high-ranking representatives of 10 countries, including the Islamic Republic, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan are due to participate in this year's Nowruz event in Ashgabat.

The people of Turkmenistan have been celebrating Nowruz on the first two days of spring (March 21 and 22) since 1992.