MEK Iran: Fire Festival Rages On Despite Regime Suppression
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported that the Iranians celebrated this year’s Fire Festival, or Charshanbe Suri, on March 16 in defiance of the clerical regime and its continued efforts to shut down the Persian tradition.
Charshanbe Suri celebration
Charshanbe Suri has been celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian calendar year for centuries in Iran. The holiday is a festive celebration of the end of the year that features people leaping over bonfires, fireworks, holiday-specific foods, and spoon-banging (traveling house to house in disguise banging spoons in exchange for packaged snacks, much like American Halloween).
The Iranian regime has attempted to stop Fire Festival celebrations since it seized power in 1979 because of the holiday’s Persian origin, but it has been unsuccessful. In recent years, the mullahs have stepped up their efforts to suppress these celebrations out of fear that they might lead to anti-government uprisings. This year was no exception.
MEK sources in several cities in Iran reported a heavy security presence during Fire Festival events. Regime forces in Karaj, Alborz Province patrolled streets to prevent people from congregating.
Manuchehr Nasiri, the deputy commander of the State Security Forces in Yazd Province, publicly threatened those who participated in the Fire Festival. “Vehicles and persons who disrupt social norms and comfort will be arrested and held by the police until 15 days after the New Year,” he said, according to the Tasnim news agency.
He added that State Security Forces would be monitoring activity on the streets and on social media.
The regime deployed motorcades of security forces to Sanandaj to prevent celebrations there. Police guarded entrances to and from the city.
Despite the increased security presence, the Fire Festival raged on. Defiant Iranians pushed back against the oppressive clerical dictatorship in cities across the country.
Young people in Varamin, Tehran Province threw firecrackers at a police station in protest of their attempts to prevent the celebration of the Fire Festival.
People in Tehran lit firecrackers in Gomrok and Abbasi Squares to celebrate the Fire Festival. Security forces occupied Javadieh, but people there lit firecrackers anyway.
People in Kermanshah lit fires in Nastaran Boulevard and Markazi Square to celebrate the Fire Festival.
People in Urmia lit firecrackers and fireworks all over the city. People in Eslamshahr and Baneh lit firecrackers. A large crowd in Rasht built bonfires and set off firecrackers.
The official IRNA reported that Fire Festival ceremonies were more intense in Kerman Province this year.
MEK Resistance Units Activities
Prior to the Fire Festival, the Social Headquarters of the MEK inside Iran issued a statement calling on MEK supporters and youth in Iran to use the Fire Festival to turn Iran into a flame of freedom.
The statement read: “By leaving Iranians to the mercy of the Coronavirus that has taken massive lives (due to the regime’s policies), the regime’s Supreme Leader thinks he can use the staggering death toll as a barrier to prevent the inevitable people’s uprising … Burning pictures, banners and effigies of Khomeini, Khamenei and Rouhani will bring joy, happiness, and hope to the people of Iran … We welcome the new year in this way during the Fire Festival.”
Led by MEK Resistance Units, youth and MEK supporters burned Khamenei posters and effigies and distributed copies of the MEK’s statement of protest. These activities took place in Tehran, Isfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, Saravan, Rudsar, Aligudarz, Ahvaz, Khorramabad, Lahijan, Mashhad, Hamedan, Shahrekord, Kashan, Tabriz, Shahriar, and Qazvin, among other cities.