‘Pure Iranians’ celebrate Chelleh Tamuz: U.S. State Dept.

August 1, 2020 - 18:33

TEHRAN — The U.S. State Department’s Farsi account on Twitter has congratulated Iranians on an ancient festival before being reminded by users that almost no one has actually heard of the festival.

“The regime does not want Iranians to remember the pre-Revolution culture but Iranians still celebrate tenth of Mordad or Chelleh Tamuz,” the State Department tweeted in Farsi on Friday.

“Pure Iranians have been celebrating the longest night of the year, or Yalda Night, and the longest day of the year, or Chelleh Tamuz,” it added.

The tweet was soon met with a storm of criticism for telling Iranians what festivals to celebrate and also for trying to appeal to mostly Islamophobic supremacists who believe “pure Iranians” should fight the influence of Islam and Muslims on the Iranian culture.

Farnaz Fassihi, an Iranian-American journalist who covers Iran for The New York Times, said via Twitter that the State Department is “congratulating Iranians on an ancient holiday I’ve never heard of anyone actually celebrating inside or outside Iran.”

She further said, “Also problematic is State Dept. wording ‘pure, real Iranians.’ An attempt to divide Iranians along ethnic & religious sectarian lines? If you are Muslim you are not pure? If you are Turk, Kurd, Arab, Baluch Iranian you are not pure?”

A few hours later, Fassihi wrote in another tweet that “Bots are coming out of the woods to claim they celebrate this holiday & threaten to prosecute those of us--journalists, academics, analysts, artists--who say we’ve never heard of this holiday nor know anyone who celebrates it.”

“Go figure,” she said. “Are bots advising State Dept.?”

Khodadad Rezakhani, a lecturer at Princeton University, also mentioned that Chelleh Tamuz is not a nation-wide festival.

“I dunno who wrote this, but I am a historian of Iran & I can tell you that, yes Iranians celebrate Yalda (not for 1000’s of years, but ok), but not anything like Chelleh Tamuz on the same scale. Some areas celebrate it regionally, but it’s not a nation wide celebration,” Rezakhani wrote in response to the State Department.

Others also shared similar sentiments, mocking the State Department for its ignorance and arrogance.

“State Dept is basically congratulating folks about a festivity that nobody celebrates and a lot of people have barely heard of it?” wrote another Twitter user. “Is this how pompous the State Dept has become under Mike Pompeo? Oops sorry, Deep State Dept!”

“The cultureless trying to preach about culture,” another user responded.


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