Iran detains citizens for celebrating Cyrus the Great

Iranian activists have been arrested for celebrating Cyrus the Great, the pre-Islam monarch of Persia, who decreed that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that Jews should return to their revered land.

Iranian authorities have arrested several activists who organized an event marking the birth of Cyrus the Great, an ancient Persian king and the founder of the Achaemenid Empire which predated Islam.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Monday that Fars province prosecutor Ali Salehi stated the organizers were in custody because of “norm-braking and anti-values” slogans that were chanted during the event last week.

Salehi did not elaborate on the number of detainees or offer further details.

The participants at the event admired Cyrus as the founder of the First Persian Empire and demanded freedom of thought, according to social media posts.

Every October, Iranians gather to celebrate at Cyrus’ tomb in the town of Pasargad.

Extremist Islamic clerics who assumed power after the 1979 Islamic Revolution generally reject the celebration of pre-Islamic icons.

Friend of the Jews

Cyrus II of Persia, known as Koresh in Hebrew, ruled between 600 or 576 – 530 BCE.

Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus, becoming the largest empire the world had yet to see.

In the Bible, he is depicted as the patron and deliverer of the Jews.

Cyrus was the monarch under whom the Israelites’ Babylonian captivity ended and, according to the Bible, in the first year of his reign he decreed that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that Jews should return to their land for this purpose.

Moreover, he showed interest in the project by sending back with them the sacred vessels which had been taken from the First Temple, and a considerable sum of money with which to buy building materials.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.