JERUSALEM – The Israeli president has sent Iranians his traditional greeting for the Persian New Year despite tensions between the two countries over Tehran's nuclear program.
Shimon Peres on Thursday wished Iranians a happy Nowruz, reaching out to them on Persian-language radio stations and his social network sites.
March 21, the first day of spring, marks Nowruz, the beginning of the year 1393 on the Persian calendar.
Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke in Hebrew and Persian, saying the two countries "respect culture and human dignity" and seek to "live in peace and understanding."
Israel views Iran as an existential threat because of its controversial nuclear program and support for militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
This month, Israel seized a ship it said was carrying Iranian weapons for Gaza.