Fire Festival continues in the face of repression (2)

Paranoid mullahs ruling in Iran have banned the Fire Festival. The regime fears that the Iranian people will use the Chaharshanbe-Suri (fire festival on eve of the last Wednesday of the year in the Persian calendar) to stage popular protests against the religious dictatorship. They have resorted to extensive repressive military and security measures across the country, particularly in the country’s capital city, Tehran.

A senior Iranian police commander, Taqi Mehri, the Crime Prevention Police Chief was quoted on February 22 by state-run Asriran: “Holding gatherings for the Fire Festival has been forbidden and is not permitted.”

Referring to the fire festival which marks the beginning of New Year or Nowrouz (March 21) celebrations in Iran, a senior cleric described participation in the event as ‘religiously forbidden’ and warned people about ‘crossing God’s redlines’. Thus the onslaught of the mullah continues against Iranian culture.

Ahmad Khatami, a member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, said: “From a legal viewpoint, these fire plays are a transgression on others’ rights. Likewise, from a Sharia standpoint it is harassment of the believers and is religiously forbidden.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran reports that despite the security measures, widespread activities have been reported through out the country, in a sign of protest against the regime. Based on these reports, in the city of Mahabad a clash broke out between the youth and the suppressive security.

The clashes led to the arrest of 10 men. In the city of Zanjan, security forces were deployed at city’s intersections to conduct body search of the youth. In Mashhad, five buses of state agents and 100 motorcycle riders ere stationed in street 600 near Khayyam.

Youth of Tehran in Velenjak district set fire to a picture of Khomeini. The same act was repeated in Isfahan. Banning the festival has only increased resistance.

In various neighbourhoods of Tehran, including Tehranpars Falakeh numbers one and two, Haft Hoz, Sarsabz Narmak intersection, Ariashahr (Sadeqiyah), Sa’adatabad, alleys in the vicinity of Shariati and Bahar streets, Hafez Bridge, Nav’vab, Beryanak, Pirouzi, Parastar and in Jolfa district near Mohseni Square people held the Fire Festival.

The commander of police in the Kerman Province, Brigadier General Hossein Chenarian said: “The security forces will harshly treat the vendors of firecrackers and those who disrupt the tranquillity of the people during the last days of the year.” However, sounds of fireworks and crackers were heard late into the night in cities like Tehran, Mashhad and Zanjan and the festival was still celebrated.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) on February 26 called on the people of Iran to turn the Fire Festival into an uprising and protest against the clerical regime. The call was welcomed nationwide.

The Fire Festival is a 4,000-year-old Persian tradition and has only recent come under fire by the mullahs of Tehran. It seems that the people of Iran are standing up against the repressive regime for the preservation of their rich history and culture.