NewsSpecial WireIran: Those arrested in fire festivities will spend New...

Iran: Those arrested in fire festivities will spend New Year in jail

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Mar. 06 – Iran’s police chief has vowed to keep “repeat offenders” in prison throughout the entire Persian New Year period which lasts until April 3 even if their jail terms expire.
Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Mar. 06 – Iran’s police chief has vowed to keep “repeat offenders” in prison throughout the entire Persian New Year period which lasts until April 3 even if their jail terms expire.

Brigadier General Ismaeil Ahmadi-Moghaddam, the commander of Iran’s State Security Forces, on Wednesday said, “With the cooperation of the judiciary, repeat offenders who are arrested will be incarcerated until the end of the holiday period”. His remarks were carried by the government-owned news agency Fars.

“Among the steps we are taking is increasing police patrols, and arresting and detaining repeat offenders”, said Ahmadi-Moghaddam, who is himself a relative of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In 2007, the government announced that any individual arrested during the fire festivities which precedes the New Year will languish in jail for the entire holiday period. The Persian New Year which coincides with the arrival of spring is celebrated on March 21.

Commenting to reporters with regards to police action on the night before the last Wednesday of the year, when Iranians have traditionally held fire festivals, Ahmadi-Moghaddam said that this year “disturbances, damage, and dangerous activities all count as our red line”, adding that State Security Forces would be vigilant to deal with trouble-makers.

Despite a massive crackdown to prevent last year’s “fire festival” from turning into scenes of anti-governments protests, many Iranians took to the streets to defy the government ban and celebrate the last Tuesday of the Persian year with a big bang.

During the traditional Persian fire festival, known as ‘chaharshanbeh souri’ – literally, Feast of Wednesday – people jump over bonfires to “drive away evil”. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, however, Iran’s theocratic leaders have made strenuous efforts to stamp out the festivities which date back to over 2,500 years ago, but to no avail. In recent years, there have been extensive clashes between festive crowds and the security forces deployed to prevent street celebrations.

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