Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian officials have taken two differing views of Nowruz, the Iranian new year, which starts on Friday – they have either rejected it or they have tried to co-opt it. Conservative Islamists and some clerics have usually scorned and even repudiated the two-week festival as a throwback to pre-Islamic Persia, others have regarded it as a time-honoured tradition. Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, in his first post-revolution speech, declared Nowruz would not be celebrated as long as the world suffered from injustice.
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