Iran’s authorities appear to have taken measures to prevent citizens from staging a gathering at the tomb of the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great that attracted thousands of people celebrating the country’s pre-Islamic glory.
Crowds of mostly young Iranians were compelled to use nearby hilltops to continue their path towards the tomb of Cyrus the Great near the ancient city of Pasargad in central province of Fars to celebrate the day unofficially marked in the Iranian calendar as Cyrus Day.
Videos released on social media show them using different paths to reach the site, causing heavy traffic even on the adjacent village roads.
Reports suggest that the authorities dispatched a variety of security units to Pasargad, to prevent people from entering the site.
They blocked roads leading to the tomb from Sunday afternoon to limit the number of people who visit the tomb. Online footage purportedly shows concrete barriers erected on the roads leading to the area.
The state security forces that were stationed at previously launched checkpoints, turned back vehicles that had come from other provinces, only permitting vehicles with local license plates (belonging to nearby cities of Fars Province) to pass through. Iranians with vehicles having license plates from other cities, such as Bandar Abbas, Yazd, and Lorestan Province are saying that authorities preventing them from heading towards Pasargad.
Numerous state police and Revolutionary Guards Basij units were stationed in many areas near an exit from Shiraz leading to Pasargad, preventing people from reaching the site. Some people moved toward Pasargad by foot via detours and mountain paths.
The state security forces have imposed tight measures in Shiraz since early Monday morning, not even allowing people to park in many places.
Some of the people who were travelling toward Pasargad were arrested by the state security forces, and some vehicles were impounded, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The entire security apparatus is currently on high alert and installing cameras to control the roads and prevent Iranians from rallying at the Cyrus the Great tomb.
During the past few days several Iranians received threatening text messages warning them that those attending the “illegal” Cyrus Day gathering could face prosecution. It wasn’t clear who sent the messages.
Iranians gather every year on October 29, which many believe is the day he conquered Babylon, at the pre-Islamic king’s tomb, located in the ancient city of Pasargadae in the central province of Fars, to celebrate Cyrus Day, an unofficial holiday.