Political Protests Spread Across Iran on Fire Festival

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An Iranian woman marks the Persian Fire Festival holiday.
An Iranian woman marks the Persian Fire Festival holiday. (Photo: BEHROUZ MEHRI / AFP / Getty Images)


There were widespread reports of political activities throughout Iran following a call by the network of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) for mobilization on the occasion of the March 13 National Fire Festival, known as Chaharshanbeh Suri in Persian.

A few weeks ago, MEK’s network of supporters inside the country called upon all Iranian people to show their protests against the ruling mullahs in Iran during the last week of the Persian year. Iranian protesters distributed leaflets and flyers in support of this call in scores of cities.

Pictures of Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), were posted in various locations while pictures of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei were set on fire by activists and protesters who chanted “Down with Khamenei.”



Despite the mullahs’ widespread efforts to prevent gatherings and protests, people took to the streets to defy the repression of the regime and to express their desire for regime change. People across the country protested by lighting firecrackers and jumping over fires. But the celebrations also had a political theme and were accompanied by the burning of the Supreme Leader’s posters and chants of “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to the dictator.”

The MEK’s call to action has been embraced in public statements by shopkeepers, bazaar merchants, university students and people from various social strata throughout the country.

The Tuesday protests took place against the backdrop of a flurry of related activity on social media and in cyberspace.  The hashtag #ديكتاتور در آتش, meaning “dictator on fire”, was used extensively with photos and clips of anti-regime activities, relaying the spirit of this year’s Chaharshanbeh Suri campaign.

Multiple Iranian cities have witnessed new anti-government protests in the last few weeks. Thousands of farmers in eastern Isfahan rallied on March 9 to protest against the regime for lack of water due to the regime’s policies.

A strike by Ahvaz National Group Steelworkers entered its 20th consecutive day on March 11 with a protest in front of the city’s governorate office.



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Shahriar Kia

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.

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