Official statement by Ned Price, US Dept. of State.
The Winter Solstice, or Shab-e Yalda as it is known in Iran, would normally be a festive time for many Iranians. It 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. Iranian authorities have killed hundreds of protestors since peaceful protests erupted across the country three months ago, including dozens of children, and have arrested more than 18,000 people, according to credible human rights organizations.
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.
Today on Shab-e Yalda, we mourn with the people of Iran, and we reiterate our commitment to the Iranian people: the United States will continue to confront Iranian authorities’ human rights abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable for employing violence against their own population through unilateral and multilateral measures, together with our allies and partners.
We will continue to support the Iranian people as they stand up to their government’s state-sponsored violence against women and girls.
The eyes of the world are on Iran. We once again take this opportunity to implore Iran’s leadership to listen to its people rather than violently suppress them.
About Shab-e Yalda.
Shab-e Yalda is an Iranian holiday that celebrates the Winter Solstice. It is also known as the “Night of Birth” because it marks the longest night of the year. Iranians traditionally celebrate Shab-e Yalda by eating watermelons and pomegranates, which are red fruits symbolizing life and rebirth.
The festival is also a time to stay up all night and visit with family and friends. If you want to celebrate Shab-e Yalda, make sure to stock up on red fruits, buy some candles, and enjoy a festive night with your loved ones!
Sources: THX News & US Dept. of State.