Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, March 16, 2020—On the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz (the Iranian New Year), Iranians celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri, the annual fire festival, in which people make bonfires and sunset and jump over the flames. For the Iranian people, this is a tradition to brush out the old and welcome the new.
Fearing that assemblies and celebrations can turn into protests, every year, the Iranian regime takes measures to prevent the people from celebrating the Fire Festival.
But this year, the situation in Iran is different than any other time. In November, gas price hikes led to nationwide protests that were brutally suppressed by the Revolutionary Guards. In January, the downing of passenger plane by the IRGC and subsequent cover-up of the incident by the regime led to more outrage and protests. And the recent outbreak of deadly coronavirus across Iran, which was largely due to the government’s secrecy about the issue, has caused public outrage over the regime’s mishandling of the situation.
This is why, due to its fear of potential protests on the annual Fire Festival, instead of quarantining cities to control the coronavirus, the regime is more concerned with controlling the fire festival by mobilizing its suppressive forces across the country under the pretext of fighting coronavirus.
“We have suggested that the government quarantines the fire festival”, the state-run News Agency ISNA quoted an official of Ministry of Health on March 14.
“There will be no legal or illegal firecrackers, and anything flammable is forbidden”, said the deputy commander of the state security forces in East Azerbaijan province.
“This year’s Fire Festival is different from previous years and the police must prevent any rallies and ceremonies related to this”, said the head of the state security forces in Ilam province.
Adinehlou, head of FATA Police in Zanjan province, said to Fars news agency on March 14, “This Wednesday, is a very dangerous for the youths”.
“In the last week of the year, we must prevent any kind of behaviors that can lead to the spread of the virus”, said the Chief of Staff of the so-called committee of fighting against coronavirus to ISNA news agency on March 14.
The head of regime’s Fire Station in Shiraz said to ISNA news agency on March 14, “It is necessary that this year in Shiraz we control any kind of incidental behaviors on the last Wednesday of the year.”
It is clear that, the regime red line is the start of new wave of protests. For this reason, under the pretext of fighting the coronavirus, which the regime itself has caused to grow and spread, it tries to prevent the annual Fire Festival which is an opportunity for the Iranian youth to echo the desire and will of the Iranian people for a free Iran.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran’s Social Headquarters announced on March 9: “In the struggle of fate against the main virus which is the Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who wants to see us silenced and depressed, we will celebrate the annual Fire Festival at any possible place. We will welcome the new year with protests during annual Fire Festival and we will take back Iran from evil mullahs.”