Celebrations to mark the Iranian New Year have been banned in the city of Yazd, where officials believe they could be used to protest against the theocratic regime.

Authorities in Yazd have approved a directive banning 'any celebration and music concert from March 14 to April 4 in locations belonging to the city's municipality'.

The ban will cover events at all parks park, public squares, amphitheatres, sports halls - but holding events that does not include 'happiness' would still be permitted, state news reports said.

The Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, on March 21 marks the first day of spring, and celebrations traditionally begin on the last Tuesday of the year ending with the Fire Festival.

Iranians mark this by lighting fires and jumping through the flames, and also use the festival to air their grievances against the mullahs' regime, which constantly fears it could trigger mass nationwide protests.

In recent years, security forces have cracked down on the celebrations, banning the sale of firecrackers, sparklers, rockets and home-made grenades months ahead of the event.

High ranking clerics and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have also issued a decree stating that the Fire Festival is harmful and has no religious basis.

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