Tens of thousands of Iranians, from various parts of the nation, gathered at the site of the tomb of King Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae Friday morning on the anniversary of his birthday to protest the clerical regime’s policies.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), protesters chanted, “Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father” and “clerical rule is synonymous with only tyranny, only war.” The protesters also reportedly chanted, “freedom of thought cannot take place with beards,” a reference to the theocratic leaders currently in power.
Another video purports to show Iranians shouting, “forget about Syria, think about us.”
Iranians chant 'Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father' around tomb of Cyrus the Great on Friday, marking the late Persian King's birthday pic.twitter.com/PFoqNtwucZ
— Adelle Malka Nazarian (@AdelleNaz) October 29, 2016
NCRI reported that, prior to the October 28 protest, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other Iranian authorities took measures to limit the impact of the demonstrations by spreading rumors that the city had been completely shut down — including canceling tours to the site, sealing off roads to Pasargadae, and even shutting down the Internet there two days prior to the rally. Residents in and near the city were reportedly also told that they were not permitted to have guests during the period marking the occasion of King Cyrus’s birth.
Many Iranians consider King Cyrus the father of international human rights, citing the discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder around 559 B.C. — the first known charter of human rights. In 1971, the Shah of Iran’s twin sister, the late Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations with a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder, which is kept at the U.N.’s New York headquarters and is promoted as “an ancient declaration of human rights.”
In a written statement regarding the protests, Shahin Gobadi, who works with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, said:
None of these schemes could prevent the gathering from taking place. The long line of vehicles and the large scope of the participants were clear indications of the Iranian people’s hatred towards the regime. This regime is incapable of standing up against the Iranian people’s desire and will to achieve democracy and popular sovereignty.
It is not yet clear whether authorities will impose punishment on participants in Friday’s rally.
Arash Razi, 36, an Iranian activist who is involved with the Constitutional Party of Iran, said, “it’s unbelievable that the regime tried very hard to intimidate and scare everyone, but their efforts did not stop the people.”
Razi, who also runs a Persian and English-language newspaper called Mehr-e-Iran out of Los Angeles, told Breitbart News, “this is very good news about Iran and for the people of Iran and the world,” adding his belief that this is the biggest turnout by the Iranian people since the revolution took place 37 years ago. He said, “I think this is even bigger than the riots following the fraudulent reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Two large flags bearing the lion and sun (shir-o-khorshid) were held up and carried throughout the crowd. This is Iran’s original flag. It is over 2,500 years old. People from Kurdistan, Azarbeijan, Balochistan, and Iranians of Arab descent were also among the protesters.
The son of Iran’s late Shah, Reza Pahlavi, also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Iranian people:
— Reza Pahlavi (@PahlaviReza) October 29, 2016
Pooya Dayanim, President of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee (IJPAC), told Breitbart News that the rally was an indication that “the generation that was born after the revolution of 1979 feels as if their parents made a mistake and destroyed their hope and future.” Dayanim added, “They consider themselves a burnt generation, just like the generation in America that has been living in their parents’ garages and basements and are either unemployed or underemployed.”
Dayanim said that Iranian citizens, particularly the youth, have very limited freedoms socially, politically, and economically. He said that “getting in touch with their rich Iranian heritage from the pre-Islamic era is one of the only sources of pride they have. What happened today is a sign of them embracing Iran when it was a strong and powerful and respected State, versus the government that they have now which has turned Iran into a pariah and has destroyed their hopes, dreams, aspirations and future.”
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz.