National Fire Festival Activities Throughout Iran Called By MEK Network

There have been widespread reports of political activities throughout Iran following the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) calling for mobilization in connection with Chaharshanbeh Suri to be held on March 13.

MEK activists distributed leaflets and flyers in support of this call in scores of cities including Tehran, Karaj (capital of Markazi Province), Dezful (Khuzestan Province), Tabriz (capital of Eastern Azerbaijan Province), Hashtrud (Eastern Azerbaijan), Kohgiluyeh (Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province), and Fasa (Fars Province).

Slogans such as “Down with Khamenei” and “Long live Rajavi” have been written on walls in public spaces in many of the same cities. Pictures of Maryam Rajavi and Massud Rajavi have also been placed in various locations, while pictures of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have been set on fire.

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.

There has been a flurry of related activity on social media and in cyberspace. The hashtag #ديكتاتور در آتش, meaning “dictator on fire,” has been used extensively with photos and clips of anti-regime activities, relaying the spirit of this year’s Chahrshanbeh Suri campaign.

At the same time, multiple Iranian cities have witnessed new anti-government protests.

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. Furious farmers parked their tractors on both sides of the road and marched toward the Varzaneh water pumping station on Yazd road. Farmers chanted: “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid we are all together.”

The regime’s anti-riot forces tried to disperse them but the farmers resisted. This was followed by anti-regime protests in the Isfahan Bazar on Saturday.

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

Regime Activities

In the meantime, the regime has continued its full-fledged mobilization to suppress Chaharshanbeh Suri activities. According to the state-run news agency ISNA, Seyed Abolhassan Firoozabadi, the head of the National Cyberspace Center said on March 11: “If we come to the conclusion that there is a need for filtering the Telegram app, we will do it.”

Iran fire festival protests
Fire Festival protest in Iran.

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.