Tara Orami, citizen reporter, Saqqez
The authorities in the western Iranian city of Saqqez were forced to organize annual ceremony marking the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran indoors, after days of state-sponsored propaganda failed to bring residents out for the event.
Saqqez is the hometown of Mahsa Amini, whose October 16 death in the custody of morality police sparked the ongoing nationwide anti-government protest movement.
Ahead of the November 4 celebration, the authorities sent a letter to schools across the city and employees of various state organizations urging them to participate, along with their families.
"We received three letters from three agencies on Thursday -- the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), local governorate and Islamic Advertisement Organization (a an religious and cultural organization) -- which stated that we and our families had to be present at the ceremony on November 4," a civil servant told IranWire.
"In addition, it was announced that employees must write their names and contact details in a form at the end of the ceremony at Kaveh Hall in order to check their presence."
In an unprecedented move, the governor's office also forced villagers and members of village councils to attend. Saqqez County is home to 220 villages, and each has three council members.
Local members of the Basij paramilitary force were also ordered to participate.
Meanwhile, the Education Department in the city warned school principals that they should be present, along with the students.
Amid reports that the ceremony may be held indoor, few families seemed willing to send their children to the event by late November 3.
Some students told IranWire that if they went there, they would shout slogans against the Islamic Republic.
As a result, less than 1,000 people attended the ceremony that was held in a hall located a few hundred meters away from the IRGC headquarters in Saqqez, sources told IranWire.
No image of the ceremony has been published.
The anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover by radical students is marked in Iran as Students’ Day.