Iranian intelligence agencies have summoned more than 50 Kurdish activists in many Kurdish cities before Newroz celebrations, threatening them and banning the celebrations.

Every year on 20 March, Kurds in different regions celebrate Newroz (known as Nowruz in Persian) by lighting fire and dancing. But as in the years before, the Intelligence Office and the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have summoned and interrogated activists organising these ceremonies since mid-March, causing Newroz programmes to be stopped through pressures and threats.

Sources told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) that more than 50 civil rights activists were summoned by the Intelligence Office and the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC in Mahabad, Miandoab, Naqadeh, Bukan, Piranshahr, Oshnavieh, Sardasht, Rabat, Baneh, Saqqez, Sanandaj, Marivan, Kamyaran, Dehgolan and Javanrud regarding the celebration of Nowruz.

Several activists told the KHRN that security interrogators had threatened them and banned Newroz celebrations.

Moreover in the past week, at least 10 Kurdish civilians have been arrested. Jamal Gerami, Aram Nikpey, Salman Afra, and Sivan Parto were arrested on 23 and 24 March in the village Ney village of Marivan, Sarok Abolghasemi on 21 March in Sanandaj, Hadi Khalandzadeh, Saleh Hassanpour, Issa Hassanpour, Morad Rahvard, and Ali Hassanpour on 20 and 22 in Oshnavieh.

The five people arrested in Oshnavieh were released after one day of detention, but there is, so far, no information on the situation of the five others detained in Marivan and Sanandaj.

According to the reports received by the KHRN, on 20 March, the IRGC forces, in cooperation with the police, surrounded Si Sar village of Rabat and Ney village of Marivan to prevent the Newroz celebrations from taking place. The forces have reportedly also cut off the telephone lines and electricity supply to the village of Si Sar and blocked the routes to the village, preventing citizens from the surrounding villages and towns from traveling there to attend the Newroz celebrations.