March 16, 2005

WHY NOT US, WE STARTED IT:

Iran hardliners keep lid on ancient fire festival (Christian Oliver, March 16, 2005, Reuters)

Iranian authorities beat up and tear gassed exuberant young revellers as they breathed new life into a pre-Islamic fire festival with a night of dancing, flirting and fireworks.

The Islamic Republic, which has an awkward relationship with its ancient Zoroastrian religion, only gave guarded recognition to the "Chaharshanbe Souri" festival last year.

Hundreds of people poured onto the streets in Tehran and other cities for a rare night of partying. Public revelry is unusual in Iran where the authorities consider it to be at odds with the country's strict moral codes.

The IRNA news agency said police used tear gas in more than four places in Tehran. Vigilantes were also seen beating up a group of boys in the central city of Isfahan.

"Anti-riot forces dispersed hundreds of young girls and boys who had gathered on ... streets neighbouring Mohseni Square," IRNA reported.

"Special police forces on motorbikes attacked the crowd. While escaping, women and children fell and some were injured," it added, in unusually frank language for the state news agency.

Some 50 people were arrested in the capital, according to the semi-official ISNA students' news agency.


The tinder only requires one good spark.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2005 6:07 PM
Comments

I have long thought that the end will come in Iran when there are riots, the suppressing Revolutionary Guard is then opposed by the regular army (it just takes one colonel or general to order his men in)and that officer calls for US support.

Posted by: Bob at March 17, 2005 11:02 AM
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