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Iran Security Forces Prevent Friends, Fans Visiting Poet's Grave On Anniversary

Members of the Iranian Writers' Association found the gates of the cemetery where prominent member Ahmad Shamlou is buried closed by security forces on the poet's death anniversary.

The Iranian Writers Association on Friday said security forces prevented the friends and fans of Ahmad Shamlou, prominent poet and writer, from paying tribute to him on his death anniversary.

A statement published on Friday on the Writers Association's Facebook page said some of the board members who had gone to a cemetery in Karaj where he is buried to commemorate his death anniversary found the gates closed while security forces stationed there shouted at them to leave immediately.

Since 2016 armed agents have prevented Shamlou's friends and fans from entering the cemetery to commemorate at his grave, the statement said. This year only a few had gone to the cemetery due to the coronavirus pandemic but they faced "the same scene and same threats as the previous years," it added.

Ahmad Shamlou, also known by his pen name A. Bamdad, was one of the most influential contemporary poets and writers of Iran and an active member of the Iranian Writers Association. He also translated extensively from French to Persian.

The renowned poet was a professed Marxist and opposed the monarchy. Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 he was twice imprisoned for his political views and activities and his opposition to the censorship of the regime.

After the Islamic Revolution, Shamlou came to be considered as an anti-Islamist and a westernized writer. He was forced to live a rather secluded life due to the restriction the government imposed on him and other intellectuals and artists including a ban on the publication of his works and a ban on public assemblies.

In 1984, Shamlou whose own works have been translated into other languages was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature. He was also awarded by The Fund for Free Expression, and the New York-based Human Rights Watch in 1990 and 1991.

Ahmad Shamlou passed away at the age of 75 in his home in Dehkadeh in Karaj due to complications arising from progressive diabetes. Thousands of Iranians attended his funeral.