Tehran’s Chief of police announced that 280 so called “troublemakers” were arrested in the capital of Iran in an effort to create an atmosphere of fear before the annual Feast of Fire Festival.
Iranians celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri on the last Tuesday night before the Persian New Year on March 21. The Festival of Fire is a remnant of the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, where fire represents God’s light or wisdom. It’s celebrated by jumping over bonfires and lighting firecrackers.
Fearing that the festival, associated with fire, will get out of hand, Iranian officials, specially clerics, consider the festival pagan and encourage people not to celebrate while security institutions arrest hundreds before Chaharshanbe Suri for supposedly selling and buying firecrackers.
According to the ISNA state-run News Agency, the Greater Tehran Chief of Police announced that the arrests were made in the sixth phase in the “plan” to deal with troublemakers.
Hossein Ashtari also said that from the 280 people arrested, 38 were detained for “distributing immoral items and firecrackers”.
“We are getting close to Chaharshanbe Suri and one of the goals of this plan was to deal with these people,” he said.
He also threatened the public against actions that he deemed as “destructive” in the Feast of Fire Festival adding that their cars would be impounded until the end of the 13 day Nowruz holiday.
Ashtari said that the police would be in full alert for Chaharshanbe Suri.