Forbes: October 29th marks “Cyrus Day” in Iran, commemorating Cyrus the Great, probably the most renowned ruler of ancient Persia.
Last year on this day a large gathering of thousands Iranians sent shockwaves to Tehran, proving to the world Iran’s society remains restive and fiercely opposes the ruling regime.
For the past 48 hours social media activists across Iran have used the hashtag #CyrusDay to post their views and inviting people to the gathering.
Fearing similar rallies this year, the Iranian regime resorted to dispatching a large number of security forces and “military maneuvers and widespread repressive measures in various cities of Fars province (southcentral Iran),” according to a statement issued by the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Units of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and state police have imposed a de facto martial law, closing all roads leading to Pasargad, the site where Cyrus the Great’s tombstone is located.
Cyrus the Great is most renowned for being the father the Cyrus Cylinder, known to be the oldest declaration of human rights. The Iranian regime and IRGC remain under heavy criticism for ongoing human rights violations.
Security forces have been seen taking pictures of license plates, reports indicate, and instructing people driving from Shiraz to Tehran or Isfahan to use old routes to distance them from the rally site.
IRGC members have been issuing papers to all vehicles and even pedestrians heading towards Pasargad on foot. These leaflets read:
“An illegal rally in Pasargad on the fake October 29th day was organized by dissident groups. Participation in this pre-planned gathering is in breach of Article 610 of the Islamic Criminal Code and violators will face legal and judicial actions.”
Despite all the restrictive measures people were seen in large groups, in vehicles and on foot, heading towards Pasargad using various routes and heavy traffic was evident throughout the area.
— mostafa.mohamadi (@MostafaMe4) October 29, 2017
Various districts in the city of Shiraz were also scenes of large crowds headed to Pasargad. State police went the limits to also prevent gatherings by any group of people, reports show.
The drastic measures resorted to by the Iranian regime is a sign of Tehran’s utter intolerance of any possible repeat of rallies mirroring the 2009 episode that rocked the very pillars of this state. Such repressive measures is tantamount to a U.S. administration supposedly banning any marches commemorating, for example, Veteran’s Day.
Different now, however, is the fact that eight years ago Tehran enjoyed the assurance of former U.S. president Barack Obama’s appeasement policy, allowing the regime to resort to a heavy and brutal crackdown against the masses.
The new administration in Washington is a completely different story.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has on three different occasions spoken of the Iranian people craving freedom.
“There are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government,” he said during his recent trip to India.
President Donald Trump has twice expressed his solidarity with the Iranian people, describing them as the first victim of the ruling regime’s wrath.
“… we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors,” Trump said in his landmark October 13th Iran policy speech.
I am a political/rights activist focusing on Iran & the Middle East. I also write in Al Arabiya English, and contributed to The Federalist, The Hill and Raddington Report. I tweet @HeshmatAlavi