Iran has reportedly banned the traditional Persian New Year fire festival to curb the spread of the coronavirus and has prohibited the public gathering. Chaharshanbe Soori is a festival that is celebrated on March 20 during the spring holiday of Nowrouz in Iran which is marked by fireworks.
Tehran's police chief General, Hossein Rahimi reportedly said, that any gathering on the occasion of Chaharshanbe Soori was strictly prohibited due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The police will forcefully confront those who do not comply with the orders, he added. Keyvan Zahiri, another police officer, was also quoted saying that people must stay indoor during the festival and cooperate with the containment measures of the government. As the assembly of large groups of people has been prohibited to curb transmission of the disease, people run a risk of contracting the strain of virus if they assemble outside, he further added.
As per the state media agency reports, people living in Isfahan, Golestan and Khuzestan province were cautioned against observing the festival and were asked to remain indoor. The Islamic Republic also took drastic measures of suspending mass assembly during the Friday prayers and closed key Shiite pilgrimage sites.
On March 3, Iran had announced that it would release more than 54,000 prisoners in an attempt to prevent the virus spread, an Iranian news agency cited judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili. This came after the head of Iran's Crisis Management Organisation, Esmaeel Najjar, contracted the novel coronavirus. Thereafter, several Iranian leaders tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the majority of infections across the Gulf countries were linked to Iran.
Iran’s economy has already been going through a tough phase with severe economic sanctions imposed by the United States. Iranian Finance Minister Javad Zarif accused US President Donald Trump on Twitter of “maliciously” tightening the economic sanctions when the country’s resources were needed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.