Iran has arrested organizers of a rally which took place on Friday at the tomb of the ancient Persian King Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae, Iran, to protest the clerical regime’s policies and which coincided with the historic monarch’s birthday.
“The main leaders and organizers of this gathering who chanted unconventional slogans against the (Islamic Republic’s) values have been arrested,” Shiraz-based prosecutor Ali Saleh said, according to Reuters, which drew the comments from Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA).
Breitbart News previously reported that protesters chanted slogans like, “Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father,” “clerical rule is synonymous with only tyranny, only war,” and “freedom of thought cannot take place with beards,” a reference to the theocratic leaders currently in power.
Anti-Arab slogans were also chanted.
According to Reuters, there was no indication as to how many of the event’s organizers had been arrested. However, a judiciary official reportedly said on Monday Iran’s intelligence and security forces have placed the organizers of the event under close surveillance and that they will face prosecution.
Prior to the October 28 protest, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other Iranian authorities attempted to thwart the impending rallies by spreading rumors that officials had completely shut down the city, canceling tours to the site, sealing roads to Pasargadae, and shutting down the Internet.
Those actions did not deter the protesters, which consisted mostly of youth and individuals under the age of 35, from carrying out their rally.
Shiite cleric Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani also denounced Friday’s rally:
— KavehTaheri (@TaheriKaveh) October 30, 2016
The Fars News Agency reportedly quoted Hamedani as saying, “These people are against the Revolution. I wonder how they can gather around Cyrus’s tomb and chant the same slogans (about Cyrus) that we chant about our supreme leader.”
As Reuters points out, Iran’s last Shah Mohamad Reza Pahlavi linked his reign to Cyrus the Great, which is a major point of contention for clerics who attempt to diminish the pre-Islamic glory of Cyrus’s Persian Empire, which had Zoroastrianism at its core.
Islam arrived in the year 651, during the Arab conquest that led the end of the Sasanian Empire and the decline of Zoroastrianism, eventually replacing it with Islamic rule.
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.”
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