Iran's Islamic Republic has arrested the organizers of a march last week near 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 attended the march near the ancient city of Pasargadae in central province of Fars on Friday to celebrate the day unofficially marked in the Iranian calendar as Cyrus Day.
Videos released on social media show them chanting "Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father." Reuters could not independently verify the videos' authenticity.
"The main leaders and organizers of this gathering who chanted unconventional slogans against the (Islamic Republic's) values have been arrested," said prosecutor Ali Salehi in the provincial capital Shiraz on Monday, according to Fars news agency.
A senior Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, denounced the gathering and its participants on Sunday.Iranians arrested for visiting their ancestor tomb
Down interesting by lanes: The Nehruvian (PANGOLIN) side of the Ayotollas:
"It is in a way funny. It is Zoroastrianism that gave devil and monotheism to once polytheistic Judaism. It is Persians who liberated the Jews from the yoke and allowed them to build the second temple. And Islam was an offshoot of that Monotheism that Judaism became. And Islam created another empire in which Persia was subjugated and imposed its Islam on it. And now that Islam prohibits celebration of the pre-Islamic Persia.. Irony!" (Malli Thambi)
"You are right that they have no ill will to Muslims. It might be because they spoke the same language Persian in India. They did not mix with Hindus easily. It might also be because of food habits. They eat cow's beef and venerate the bull.
It was only after independence that they understood Hinduism. This conclusion is despite the common perception. After independence they identified with Hindu society well.
Persian society had morally degraded a lot in the Sassanian regime. The last Prince who was defeated by the Muslims wanted to marry his father's widow.
The earlier Achaemenian (Darius Cyrus etc) were said the be liberals.
The oppression of the common man by the Priests in Persia was so harch that Persians are said to have helped the Islamists win. Nearly a third of the army and the upper crust converted to Islam within a few years after defeat.
The Indian Parsees did not take the name Ardeshir (like Godrej head) easily. Their preference was for Cyrus etc.
Ardeshir was the first of the second dynasty known as Sassanians almost 300 years after Alexander.
I remember one incident with some emotion. One Engineer (the air marshall) wanted to migrate to Iran under the persuasion of the Shah. He was a friends cousin. They had arranged everything including the Government's permission..
Engineer's son called my friend to say Good bye. I was with the friend when the conversation took place.
The friend abused the nephew and Iran and said this country had given "us refuge" and freedom. You should never leave this country or trust Iranians. They are "b@#$%&*#' (the actual words used.) I sat by his side when this talk was going for almost half hour silently shedding tears.
Later the friend said that the Engineers did move to Iran.
This must have been in 1973-4 when the Shah was ascendant.
The son Cyrus was in Delhi university much junior to me. I had heard about him." (S.K.Balasubramaniam)
(via Swaminathan Raman)