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VOA’s Live Nowruz Broadcast Draws Praise

Viewers in Iran and around the world are hailing the Persian New Year special broadcast by the Voice of America

Washington, D.C., March 22, 2010—Viewers in Iran and around the world are hailing the Persian New Year special broadcast by the Voice of America March 20th. Comments flooding into VOA’s Persian News Network and posted on online forums are calling the live Nowruz television program “wonderful and exciting” with some describing it as “the best Nowruz show” they have ever seen.

The highlight of the three-hour program was an appearance by singer-songwriter Mohsen Namjoo, sentenced in absentia in Iran to five years imprisonment for his music. One viewer described his performance as “incredible,” adding “he put the dagger in the heart of the Islamic Republic.” He said: “he had to come all the way to the United States so he can share his talent with Iran.”

One man commenting on a forum site said of the show: “I think it was just fantastic. It is amazing what younger Iranians can do when given a chance. Mohsen Namjoo was just amazing. His choices of lyrics, although a bit sad, was just perfect for this Nowruz. I think most of Iran was watching it.”

Namjoo was among several entertainers and other celebrities who appeared in the special. Others included Persian rap artist Shahin Najafi, who fled Iran after coming under pressure from government authorities to remove political messages from his music.

The special broadcast was hosted by Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi, the hosts of VOA Persian News Network’s popular satirical show “Parazit.”

The show can still be watched on line:

The special was broadcast on the same day VOA launched its new English learning website for speakers of Farsi ( Thousands of users visited the site, creating so much traffic technicians were forced to provide additional server support. One user wrote “This is an impeccable website to enhance people's English level and makes it really easy to keep up with contemporary English. I found it really worthwhile and helpful.”

VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch called it a “landmark” weekend for VOA and its Persian News Network.

VOA's PNN has the largest combined television and radio audience in Iran of all international broadcasters, with nearly 30% of adult Iranians watching a VOA program at least once a week. VOA broadcasts seven hours of television daily, repeated in a 24-hour format, and five hours of radio. Broadcasts are available round-the-clock on VOA Persian’s popular website

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail