Chaharsahnbe_Suri is an Iranian festival celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz (the Iranian New Year's day). A few days ago, the main Iranian opposition group the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which has headquarters inside the country, called for mobilisation in connection with Chaharshanbeh Suri.

The 2018 date is March 13 and the festival has its origin in ancient Iranian rituals. Despite all the crackdowns over the past 39 years by the Islamic Republic, the ritual is still observed by an increasing number of people.

However, Chaharshanbeh Suri is now more of a nightmare for the mullahs.

PMOI/MEK call for anti-government protests

This year, due to the massive protests that shook the regime to its core in late December and January, the regime’s concerns have grown even more regarding public gatherings in general and celebrations, such as Chaharshanbeh Suri.

In part, the call by the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said, “In the national festival of Chaharshanbeh Suri, the ceremony of lightning and freedom in the darkness of the clerical tyranny comes to the fore. The uprising is flaring again in Iran; at the national festival of Chaharsahnbe Suri, every alley will be a trench, every house a castle, and every street will turn into the battlefield in the campaign for Freedom. At the national ceremony of the Chaharshanbeh Suri, the young revolutionaries and the rebellious centres will start another insurrection against the clerical regime dictatorship. There is no stopping the storm of the uprising, and it will continue until the overthrow of religious fascism with the slogans of 'Death to the principle of Velayat-e faqih' and 'The auspicious Spring of Freedom is on its way'.

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In anxiety over the potential escalation of anti-government protests during Chaharshanbeh Suri, the State Security Forces have taken extensive measures throughout the country.

People are determined to continue the uprising

According to Tasnim News Agency (Affiliated to Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards), on March 7, 2018, Gholamreza Zahedipour, the South Khorasan Security Forces’ Prevention Officer, said that 50,000 tons of various fireworks materials ( sparklers, rockets, firecrackers, etc.) have been seized this year. He said that the business license of any shop found to be selling these kinds of materials will be revoked.

He added that South Khorasan is ready for Chaharshanbeh Suri and that control measures have been intensified at the checkpoints.

Zahedipur warned that a serious and uncompromising approach will be adopted towards those who cause public disorder on Chaharshanbeh Suri.

In another such seizure of materials, on February 23 the State-run Mehr News Agency quoted IRGC officer, Alireza Lotfi, the head of security section of State Security Forces in Tehran, as saying that they have arrested a man with a total of 24.75 million various fireworks (sparklers, rockets, firecrackers and more) in his car.

According to Lotfi, following an inspection of his premises, over 30 million other types of similar materials were discovered.

This mood has been apparent in statements issued by Prosecutor Generals and Revolutionary Prosecutors of various provinces and cities around the country. In many cases, they have declared that they have set up a special branch to deal with violations and possible crimes related to Chaharshanbeh Suri.

The cities in which the State Security Forces will be on full alert include Tehran, Shiraz (capital of Fars province), Qazvin (capital of Markazi province), Ardebil (capital of Ardebil province), Hamedan (capital of Hamedan province), Sari (capital of Mazandaran province), Amol (Mazandaran province), Birjand (capital of Southern Khorasan province), and Qom (capital of Qum province).

In the last few weeks, people from all over the country and in particular the youth, despite all the measures taken by the regime and its various suppressive forces, are determined to continue the uprising to uproot this regime.

The evidence can be seen in protests by people from all walks of life, such as farmers, students, workers, women, and others, but Chaharshanbeh Suri, on the back of the call for mobilisation in connection with this event by PMOI/MEK, will give the festival a new definition and a new function as a gigantic annual anti-government demonstration. Fire is now a symbol of Iranian hatred and anger over this regime.