Many people in Iran have received a mysterious text message on their phone, warning them not to participate in any gathering on October 29 at Pasargadae, the resting place of the founder of the first Persian empire, Cyrus the Great.
October 29 is the International Day of Cyrus the Great and last year some 15,000 people spontaneously gathered at Pasargadae, some of them chanting anti-regime slogans.
It appeared that the authorities were not expecting such a large gathering last October and were caught off-guard, but reactions, by some officials and religious leaders, were harsh.
This year, rumors began circulating that the authorities intend to prevent any gathering. A local official in the Fars Province denied that a decision has been taken, until the SMS message began to circulate.
The text message, showing just an abbreviated sender's number is not signed. It says:
“Dear citizen, any presence in the illegal gathering at the Pasargadae area on the occasion of Aban 7 [October 29] will result in judicial consequences”.
Numerous citizens forwarded screen shots of the text message to Radio Farda’s social media accounts.
In addition, a user sent Farda a video from Pasargadae showing some kind of fence being erected around Cyrus’ mausoleum. Looking at the video it does not appear the fence is to prevent a gathering, since there is plenty of space left in the area for a large crowd.
Most probably the fence is to keep people away from the mausoleum structure, to protect it from any potential damage.
It is still possible that the authorities might block roads leading to Pasargadae, which is not in an urban area and relatively easy to block off.