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Iran Says It Foiled 'Illegal Gathering' At Tomb Of Cyrus The Great

Iran -- Visitors look at the limestone tomb of ancient Persia's King Cyrus the Great, who founded the Achaemenid empire in the 6th century B.C. in Pasargadae near the Shiraz, some 950 km south of Tehran, July 9, 2008

Iran says it has foiled an online plan to organize an "illegal gathering" at the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

Iranians gather every year on October 29 at the pre-Islamic king's tomb, located in the ancient city of Pasargadae in the central province of Fars, to celebrate Cyrus Day, an unofficial holiday.

Last year, scores of people were reported to have been arrested and some later sentenced to prison after thousands had assembled at the site of the ancient monument to celebrate Cyrus Day.

Mizan Online, the judiciary's news agency, reported on October 29 that the Intelligence Ministry had "identified and destroyed" plans to organize the gathering.

Iran's authorities appear to have taken measures to prevent citizens from gathering at the tomb this year.

However, there is no independent confirmation that people have been completely prevented from gathering at Psargadae.

Online footage purportedly shows fences erected around the tomb and roads to the area closed.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran's clerical establishment has tried to downplay the country's pre-Islamic history and placed emphasis on the nation’s Islamic heritage.

Based on reporting by Mizan and AP