Iran: People celebrate Fire Festival despite heavy security measures

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, March 16, 2021—Despite broad efforts by the regime to prevent celebrations during the annual Fire Festival (Charshanbe Suri), marking the eve of the final Wednesday of the Persian calendar year, people across Iran celebrated this Persian tradition.

Iranian people celebrate Charshanbe Suri by lighting and jumping over fires. The regime fears that such assemblies can lead up to anti-regime protests. Therefore, every year, it takes intense measures to prevent any kind of celebration.

According to reports obtained from different cities, there was a heavy presence of security forces in different cities. In Karaj, Alborz province, security forces were patrolling the streets to prevent people from congregating.

In Tehran, the people celebrated the Fire Festival in the Gomrok and Abbasi Squares by lighting firecrackers. In Javadieh, the people lit firecrackers despite the presence of security forces.

In Varamin, Tehran province, the youth threw firecrackers at the wall of a base of security forces in defiance of the regime’s efforts to prevent celebrations. “Varamin’s flag is always up,” one youth said as he threw a firecracker at the headquarters of security forces.

In Sanandaj, the regime has dispatched motorcades of security forces to prevent celebrations. Security forces are also controlling entrances and exits to the city.

Heavy security presence in Sanandaj on Charshanbe Suri

Heavy security presence in Sanandaj on Charshanbe Suri

According to the state-run Tasnim News Agency, Manuchehr Nasiri, the deputy commander of the State Security Forces in Yazd province, threatened the people and said, “Vehicles and persons who disrupt social norms and comfort will be arrested and held by the police until 15 days after the New Year.”

Nasiri said that State Security Forces are on high alert across the province and are monitoring activities on the streets and on social media.

But the people have not paid heed to the regime’s threats. Following the call by the Social Headquarters of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK / PMOI) inside Iran to turn Chaharshanbe Suri into a flame of freedom against the religious dictatorship, the youth and supporters of the MEK in Tehran, and other cities of Iran torched Khamenei placards and effigies. They also distributed MEK’s statement addressing the Iranian youth and people in different cities with the message of protest against the dictatorship.

Iranian people burn effigies and placards of Khamenei on Charshanbe Suri

Iranian people burn effigies and placards of Khamenei on Charshanbe Suri

In addition to the capital, Tehran, these activities were carried out in many cities in Iran, including Isfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, Saravan, Rudsar, Aligudarz, Ahvaz, Khorramabad, Lahijan, Mashhad, Hamedan, Shahrekord, Kashan, Tabriz, Shahriar, and Qazvin.

Honoring the martyrs of the recent uprisings and those executed by the regime, especially the rebellious youth in Sistan and Baluchestan, the statement by the Social Headquarters of the MEK inside Iran emphasized, “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.”

Burning effigies and placards of Khamenei on Iranian fire festival

Burning effigies and placards of Khamenei on Iranian fire festival

Resistance Units celebrate Fire Festival

The members of the internal network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) torched images of the regime’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei in various cities. The MEK’s network, also known as the Resistance Units, organized a vast anti-regime campaign checkered across calling for regime change.

The Resistance Units organized activities in cities such as Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Karaj, Saravan, Rudsar, Aligoudarz, Ahvaz, Khorramabad, Lahijan, Hamadan, Shahre Kord, Kashan, Shahriar, and Qazvin.

The Resistance Units, spread anti-regime slogans such as “Down with Khamenei, hail to Rajavi, down with the dictator, hail to freedom,” “The supreme leader’s end is near,” “We will take back Iran,” and “We will turn Iran into a burning cry for freedom.”

Fire Festival celebrations continue through the night

Reports and videos obtained from different cities in Iran pertain that festivities continued despite heavy presence of security forces. In Kermanshah, the people lit fires in Nastaran Blvd and Markazi Sq and celebrated the Fire Festival.

In Urmia, people lit fireworks and firecrackers across the city. In Eslamshahr, the sounds of firecrackers could be heard in different parts of the city. In Baneh, the people lit firecrackers in the streets. In Rasht a large crowd gathered and celebrated the Fire Festival with firecrackers and bonfires.

The state-run Tasnim News Agency quoted the commander of State Security Forces in Tehran Hossein Rahimi as saying that there have been at least 25 explosion incidents on the night of Fire Festivals despite the heavy repressive measures held by the regime to prevent assemblies and festivities. “The situation this year is not good in comparison to last year,” Rahimi said.

The official IRNA news agency also reported that in Kerman, Fire Festival ceremonies were more intense than past years.

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