Following a video post that showcased how to make kotlets, otherwise known as Persian meat patties, local celebrity chef and influencer Navab Ebrahimi was suddenly arrested by government authorities.
The kotlet video was posted on January 3rd, which happens to be the anniversary of former Iranian General Qasem Soleimani’s assassination by a Trump-ordered U.S. drone strike back in 2020.
In response to the strike, then President Donald Trump shared a series of tweets, saying that the slain general was, ‘directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people.”
At the time, the UN considered the strike unlawful as the US hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to justify the attack. Clearly enraged, figures representing the Iranian government vowed “harsh revenge,” even going so far as to issue an arrest warrant for Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s assassination.
Navab Ebrahimi, Iranian chef, was arrested on Jan 4 at his restaurant, after he posted a story showing the recipe of “kotlet” on IRGC General Qasem Soleimani’s death anniversary. Kotlet, a popular Iranian food, is a metaphor of Qasem, referring to the way he was killed by U.S. pic.twitter.com/DDYJ8hBdAA— Ghoncheh (@GhonchehAzad) January 5, 2023
Chef Ebrahimi was arrested because of what kotlet has come to represent amongst Iranian citizens. As a joke, protestors of the government have co-opted the word to describe Soleimani’s slain body, which was “smashed” by the drone strike. It was said to resemble the minced meat used to make kotlets.
As the term grew in popularity, citizens began cooking kotlets on the anniversary of Soleimani’s death as a form of protest, dubbing it “Kotlet Day.”
Reports state that Ebrahimi was imprisoned in Evin Prison, Tehran. In addition to being arrested, Ebrahimi’s Instagram, which had over 2.7 million followers, was deactivated. His restaurant was also shut down on the same day.
Despite the mocking connotation kotlet has become, there’s no clear evidence to suggest Ebrahimi’s recipe video was intentionally made to insult Soleimani’s death. Since his arrest, social media has been set aflame with support for the popular chef, with many Iranians posting pictures and videos of kotlets.