On the eve of the Iranian historic Yalda Night feast the US State Department has expressed sorrow that many families face empty chairs as regime has killed their loved ones.
State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday in a statement that the Winter Solstice, or Shab-e Yalda as it is known in Iran, is normally a festive time for many Iranians, but the regime has killed hundreds of protesters since September.
“Yalda is a time for celebrating at home with loved ones as the longest night of the year gives way to light – a symbolic triumph of good over evil. Instead, many families face empty chairs tonight,” stressed Ned Price.
“Iran’s leadership has used executions, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, and sexual violence to stifle peaceful protests by the Iranian people. It appears no act is beneath the Islamic Republic’s leadership in their attempts to silence dissent,” reads another part of the statement.
The State Department went on to say that on Shab-e Yalda, the United States mourns with the people of Iran, reiterating its commitment to the Iranian people that Washington will continue to confront Iranian authorities’ human rights abuses.
Iran's religious establishment and hardliners often say Yalda festival is a "pagan" event. They call on people not to celebrate such festivals and sometimes even try to ban it. But ancient traditions appear to have gained more popularity since the 1979 Islamic Revolution despite non-stop religious propaganda.