Reuters, Oct 31, 2016 - Iran's Islamic Republic has arrested the organizers of a march last week near the tomb of the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great that attracted thousands of people celebrating the country's pre-Islamic glory.
Crowds of mostly young Iranians attended the march near the ancient city of Pasargadae in the central province of Fars on Friday to celebrate the day unofficially marked in the Iranian calendar as Cyrus Day.
Videos released on social media show them chanting "Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father." Reuters could not independently verify the videos' authenticity.
"The main leaders and organizers of this gathering who chanted slogans against the Islamic Republic have been arrested," said prosecutor Ali Salehi in the provincial capital Shiraz on Monday, according to Fars news agency.
A senior Shi'ite cleric, Nouri Hamedani, denounced the gathering and its participants on Sunday.
"These people are against the Revolution. I wonder how they can gather around Cyrus's tomb and chant the same slogans (about Cyrus) that we chant about our supreme leader," Fars quoted him as saying. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has both the highest religious and political power in Iran.
A judiciary official said on Monday that the organizers of the event had been under surveillance by the intelligence and security forces for a long time and will face prosecution. There were no indication how many organizers had been arrested.
But according to some Iranian regime's media outlet the action was against the regime in general and the slogans chanted during the event showed that the protesters had targeted the regime in its totality using the Great Cyrus's birthday as a pretext.
Videos uploaded onto the YouTube showed that people were chanting "Death to the Dictator", and "The mullahs' regime, only injustice, only war."