Archive – Youth & Students


11 December, 2009


The World Federation of Democratic Youth is deeply shocked due to the suppression going on in recent days against student demonstration in Tehran and other cities of Iran.

WFDY has been always supporting democratic right of Iranian Student to demonstrate peacefully. So we strongly condemn the arrest, detention and suppression of students by the regime.

We demand with Iranian Government to stop their manoeuvres against the peaceful right to demonstrate of young people in Iran for their genuine concerns.

Till now it has been reported that 165 men and 39 women has been arrested, and thrashing of baton and tear gas is common in the street. Even the professors are attacked under police operation.

We demand the immediate release of student demonstrators; stop to trash them in the street and to listen to their unheard voices.

WFDY has always expressed it position that supports the Iranian youth and people in building up their country with no interventions, blockades and threats from the imperialist countries, and has also supported the democratic movement inside Iran in its effort to build a democratic progressive system that fulfils the political and economic needs of its people.

World Federation Democratic Youth
11 December, 2009


Protests expose Iranian regime’s frailty

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Massoumeh Torfeh

Pro-reform Iranian students march during a protest at the Tehran University campus in Iran.

Pro-reform Iranian students march during a protest at the Tehran University campus in Iran. Photograph: AP

The ruling clique in the Islamic republic must face the fact that it can no longer brush under the carpet the disenchantment of the young and educated in Iran. Nor can it convince anyone through its show trials that “spies” working to the orders of America and Britain organise all these regular demonstrations. The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, repeated the claim again on Sunday.

The cliche sentences dividing the nation into those who are “with us” and those who are “with our enemies” have been heard far too long to be effective. After 30 years of the Islamic republic, the young seem to be searching for new political ideas while the establishment seems to be running out of breath. The more autocratic a regime becomes, the more it tightens its controls and the harsher its response, the more it reveals its fragile disposition.

The students came out across the country in their thousands and warned that they preferred their religion to be kept in the private domain. And in a bolder show of defiance they directly blamed the supreme leader for continuing to support the contested president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“The government commits crimes, the leader gives it support,” chanted demonstrators setting light to pictures of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. They even sent a message of disapproval to the main opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi: “Mousavi is an excuse, the target is the regime,” they shouted. Another slogan hit the leader more indirectly: “Students are awake, dictators, they detest.”

Dozens were arrested after fierce clashes with security forces. But when, despite security clampdowns and threats on people’s lives, demonstrators keep returning to the streets the question keeps being posed: “Why can’t the regime regain control?” Opposition leader Mousavi warned the authorities that the green movement would continue: “You may be able to clamp down on 7 December but what will you do on 8 December and 9 December?” he said in a statement on the eve of Students’ Day. The next day, female Basij militia attacked his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, as she tried to join the demonstrations.

The more the regime tries to pretend dissent is limited, the more new defiant groups seem to flourish. Mothers of those who were killed or imprisoned during the last six months now have a weekly gathering at a park near Tehran University where they voice their objection to the government’s inaction in bringing to justice those responsible for killing their children. Women’s movement activists also increasingly join in. Last Saturday more than 20 women were arrested while protesting.

During the weeks leading up to Students’ Day (7 December), dozens of student leaders were arrested to block them from organising protests. It is a symbolic day to mark the student movement’s leading role in the process of democratisation in Iran. This year the students used it for expressing their dismay with suppression of academic freedoms. They also used the colour green on the design of their posters to indicate that they have accepted the green movement as their own.

Students are increasingly angered since many are harassed for political activism and barred from their university. There is also disenchantment with the way study subjects are being replaced by religious studies in the curriculum. Teaching of political thought is limited to Islamic and religious thought. Women students � who win about 70% of university entrance places � are being told they cannot attend to make room for more men. It is these daily frustrations that brought large numbers of students to demonstrations, not just in Tehran but also in Mashhad, Arak, Kerman, Shiraz and Isfahan.

During the past few months the regime has also increasingly angered journalists. Dozens are held in prison and subjected to humiliation and misrepresentation. Reporters Without Borders said many journalists had been intimidated and arrested in the past two weeks leading to Students’ Day:

The press freedom situation is getting worse by the day in Iran.
Journalists who have chosen not to the leave the country are being constantly threatened or summoned by the intelligence services, including the intelligence service of the Revolutionary Guards. Some have been given long prison sentences at the end of completely illegal judicial proceedings.

The editor of Aftab e Yazd – usually not regarded strictly speaking as opposition � received a warning not to publish anything “divisive”. The editor replied saying it had only published the speeches by “the regime’s top politicians”, namely the head of the expediency council, Hashemi Rafsanjani. He had said in a meeting with students in Mashhad: “Censorship is ineffective in our country. If media were free people would not come out in the streets.” Apart from Aftab e Yazd, three other newspapers – Asrar, Hayat e Now, and Etemad � received the same warning. Hayat e Now has now been closed down.

Thus dissent is on the increase. And the government’s inability to deal with their demands strengthens the protesters’ resolve. Slogans in protests have moved from “Where is our vote?” to directly confronting the Islamic republic’s political structure.

Over the next few months the opposition demonstrations will continue and are likely to be joined by people from other layers of society who may object to planned substantial cuts in government subsidies. The likelihood is that the brutality of the security forces in dealing with demonstrators will also increase.



Iran prisons full of student activists

December 10, 2009


According to Tehran’s police chief “165 men and 39 women” were arrested in Tehran on December 7.  General Azizollah Rajabzadeh did not reveal further details about the whereabouts or conditions of the detainees.  He also did not refer to the number of people arrested in other cities.  Prior to the Student Day on 16 Azar (December 7), the country’s attorney general had warned the families of those protesting the election result to restrain their children, as the families would not have “the right to be upset” if they are arrested.

Mohseni-Ezhei said, “In the post-election events, the judiciary showed restraint in confronting violators, but will not continue to do that after today.”  He also threatened that “Anyone who moves against and disrupts the regime’s order, rights and security will be severely confronted.”

Meanwhile, the public relations division of Tehran’s general and revolutionary courts announced verdicts for 22 individuals arrested after the election.  Without naming the individuals, the agency said that 18 of them were sentenced to between 4 months and 4.5 years prison terms, while 4 individuals were acquitted and several received monetary fines and lashes.

On the other hand, Alireza Avaei, head of the Tehran’s court system, announced that the final verdicts of several post-election detainees have been issued, some having been acquitted and some others fined.

He did not explain which individuals were acquitted and which others were fined.  In the past days and weeks, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Saeed Leilaz, Hengameh Shahidi, Behzad Nabavi, Masoud Bastani, Mohammad Ali Abtahi and several other politicians and journalists have been dealt strange and hefty sentences.

Last Monday the anniversary of Student Day in Iran led to bloody clashes as anti-riot police fired bullets into air, used teargas and arrested numerous protestors in their efforts to disperse university students in the country.
December 7 is annually celebrated in Iran as Student Day and this year Iranian students held their tribute and protests against the coup administration and the events that followed the June 12 presidential elections as the major universities in Tehran were completely ringed off by security and law enforcement forces who tried to prevent students from leaving the campuses into the surrounding neighborhoods of the capital to join the public by closing the streets that led to the universities.

Through these demonstrations “Death to the Dictator” was the most common cry coming from campuses in Tehran and other academic institutions as the streets around the campuses were the scenes of violent clashes between students and protesting people on one hand and anti-riot agents and plain-clothes agents on the other.

Foreign journalists and reporters were barred from covering the events while there was a serious disruption of access to the Internet and telephone connections, but still many images of the events in Tehran and other cities found their way to the electronic social networks such as uTube and demonstrated the extent of the student demonstrations and the clashes that took place.

Clashes and Arrests in Tehran

As reported by Rooz reporters from Tehran, the streets surrounding all the large universities in Tehran were filled with parked buses used to carry prisoners which were filled with detainees whose heads were covered with bags and who were transferred to undisclosed locations. The neighborhoods around the universities were also witness to scores of plainclothes agents and motorcyclists who participated in the violent clashes and crackdown of the students – which was in fact more violent than the force used by the regular police.

According to these reports, the police fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse students, while arresting tens of protestors as well.

Amid the protests, a large number of students were arrested among whom were Majid Tavakoli who is a member of the Islamic Society of Amir Kabir University and Mohammad Jaafar Tahmasebi a member of the student committee of Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Zahra Rahnavard Attacked

Zahra Rahnavard, a professor at Tehran University and the wife of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was physically attacked by a number of women Basijis. Mrs. Rahnavard who is a lecturer at Tehran University’s Fine Arts College was at the university campus and preparing herself for the celebrations commemorating Student Day when she was attacked. One witness said that the attackers initially engaged her verbally and then sprayed pepper gas from a distance of 20 to 25 centimeters onto her face which led to her temporary loss of vision forcing her to gasp for air. Bystanders rushed to her help and rescued her from the scene. Her health has been reported to be in bad condition because of the closeness of the pepper spray that was used on her face.

In the verbal exchange between Mrs. Rahnavard and the attacking women, Rahnavard told them “I am not afraid of anyone except God. Even if you tear me up in pieces you will not hear anything from me other than the green call for freedom and democracy.”

Protests in Other Cities

In addition to Tehran, December 7th was also commemorated in other towns in Iran as strict security measures were implemented as an effort for the security forces to prevent students from joining protesting people. Reports indicate that large groups of security and law enforcement agents, including plainclothes agents gathered most universities on Monday. The cities were such protests were held included Tabriz, Rasht, Isfahan, Hamedan, Shiraz, Semnan, Kermanshah, Babol, Mashhad, Kerman, Najafabad, and others. In their continuing protests, these students demonstrated against the coup elections and the post election events in Iran. In these demonstrations, which led to violent clashes, many students were arrested and taken away by security forces.

What stood out in these events on Monday was that many of the slogans that were chanted were directly directed at ayatollah Khamenei and students fearlessly chanted them in the presence of the security forces around them. The scope and intensity of these student protests in the capital was so large that observers said they were unprecedented for this occasion.



IFJ Condemns News Blackout over Tehran Protests after Two Journalists Jailed

8 December 2009 – Media Release

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the Iranian authorities for ordering foreign news media to stay in their offices ahead of yesterday’s university demonstrations marking Iran’s National Student Day. This latest restriction on media comes days after Saeed Laylaz, editor of Sarmayeh newspaper, and Hengameh Shahidi, report for E’temad-e-Melli, received lengthy jail sentences for ?fomenting unrest’.

“The attempted news blackout and sentencing of journalists are part of a pattern of systematic intimidation of media,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Journalists are being victimised as the Government faces public anger over its actions after the elections.”

According to media reports, the government took these draconian measures ahead of the planned demonstration in an attempt to limit news coverage. Restrictions were also imposed on internet sites and mobile phone networks used in sending messages and videos of previous anti government rallies to the outside world.

The IFJ says the crackdown on media which started after the controversial presidential elections in June shows no sign of let up.

Last week, Saeed Laylaz, editor of Sarmayeh newspaper which has been banned by the authorities, was given a nine-year jail term last Wednesday for “fomenting unrest” after the June elections while Hengameh Shahidi, a female reporter for E’temad-e-Melli, a reformist newspaper was jailed for six years and three months on Monday.

Shahidi is among several women journalists who have been detained during the media clampdown including Fariba Pajooh, who was arrested on 22 August but has not been charged of any crime, reports say. Over 50 journalists were arrested at the height of the demonstrations and over 20 remain in jail.

Meanwhile the office of the Association of Iranian Journalists, an affiliate of the IFJ, remains locked having been closed by the authorities in September.

“The government’s drive to censor independent reporting has failed,” added White. “It is high time that the regime stops interfering in media affairs in the interest of democracy.”

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide


UA update on the Amir Kabir students

03 April 2009

Dear Comrades

AI Index: MDE 13/029/2009
03 April 2009

Further Information on UA 61/09 (MDE 13/017/2009, 05 March 2009) Enforced disappearance/ Fear of torture/ ill-treatment

IRAN    Abbas Hakimzadeh, (m) member of Central Council, Office for the Consolidation of Unity
Mehdi Mashayekhi (m), Amir Kabir University Islamic Students Association (ISA) member
Nariman Mostafavi (m), ISA member
Ahmad Qasaban (m), ISA member

New Name:          Yasser Torkman (m), ISA member

A fifth student from Amir Kabir University in the capital, Tehran, was arrested on 9 March, and was allegedly beaten by security officials. The reason for the arrest and the whereabouts of Yasser Torkman, who is a member of the Islamic Students Association (ISA) of Amir Kabir University remain unknown. All five detained students are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Yasser Torkman had been summoned to one of the university gates, where university security staff informed him that he was banned from classes and could no longer enter the campus grounds. Eyewitnesses report that the two state security officials beat him before taking him away.

Four other Amir Kabir university students, Abbas Hakimzadeh, Mehdi Mashayekhi, Nariman Mostafavi and Ahmad Qasaban, are now known to be held in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, a section which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Intelligence. According to the Amir Kabir University website, on 28 March, Ahmad Qasaban and Nariman Mostafavi were permitted a brief telephone call to their families.

The four were arrested at their homes on 24 February, following their alleged involvement in demonstrations at Amir Kabir University. Mehdi Mashayekhi, Nariman Mostafavi and Ahmad Qasaban are members of the ISA. Abbas Hakimzadeh is a member of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity, another student union.

Since December there have been waves of arbitrary arrests and harassment, particularly directed against members of Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities, students, trade unionists and women’s rights activists. These measures may in part be intended to stifle debate and to silence critics of the authorities in advance of the forthcoming presidential election in June 2009.

More than 70 students were arrested on 23 February during a peaceful demonstration held by students at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University in protest at the government’s burial on campus of soldiers’ remains

The burial of the unknown soldiers on the university campus has widely been seen as a move by the government to seek to control student groups opposed to its policies. Burial of soldiers, called martyrs on account of their sacrifice in fighting against Iraqi forces, appears to enable non-students to enter the campus without being required to show evidence that they are students, a normal requirement for access to university premises. Students groups fear that the presence of the graves would allow unrestricted access to the campuses by security forces, including the Basij mobilization forces who are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, English or your own language:
– urging the authorities to ensure that all students held following demonstrations at Amir Kabir University on 23 February are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated;
– calling for all the detained students to be allowed immediate access to their family, legal representation and any medical attention that they may require;
– seeking specific details of the reasons for the arrest of Abbas Hakimzadeh, Mehdi Mashayekhi, Nariman Mostafavi, Ahmad Qasaban and Yasser Torkman; and any legal proceedings they might be facing;
– seeking immediate clarification of the whereabouts of Yasser Torkman;
– noting that if any of the students are held solely on account of the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, then they are prisoners of conscience and should be released immediately without condition;
– reminding the authorities that confessions extracted under duress are prohibited by Article 38 of the constitution of Iran, which states that “All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden,” and that Iran as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is bound by Article 7 which states that “No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment”.

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation:     Your Excellency

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
Mohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran 1316814737, Iran
Fax:         +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)
Email: (In the subject line write: FAO Javad Larijani)
Salutation:    Dear Mr Larijani

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 May 2009.


WFDY Urgent Appeal!

28 January 2008

Dear Comrades

The attack on the student movement in Iran is spreading ever wider daily. More than 40 progressive student activists from different universities are languishing in inhuman conditions in prisons. They are tortured daily in order to force them to stop their oppositionist stand points. Ibrahim Lotf- Ullahi, a university student activist in Sanandaj, Western Iran, was reported killed in mid-January after nine days of interrogation by the security forces. He was buried before his family was informed. They were prevented by the security forces to have a public funeral or memorial event for the murdered law student. The regime has clearly shown that in order to maintain political control, it is prepared to trample upon the most basic human and democratic rights.

On Sunday 27th January the riot police and security forces of the regime raided the dormitories of students of Tehran University and attacked student demonstrators who were planning to march in the streets of Tehran demanding better academic and living conditions in their university. Scores of students were injured in the unprecedented attack. The security forces are prohibited to enter university campuses or student dormitories.

Since early December 42 progressive and non-conformist student activists have been arrested by the regime. Some of those arrested are transferred to the notorious ‘wing 209’ of Evin prison where they are subjected to physical and psychological tortures. The regime is trying to force the imprisoned students to confess that they are in contact with the banned opposition forces abroad. It is believed that the regime aims to silence the student movement, one of the key components of the movement for peace and democracy in Iran, ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary election in March.

Tudeh Youth of Iran, a member organisation of WFDY, has condemned the regime’s unjustified and illegal activities in the university campuses and against student activists. Tudeh Youth has renewed its appeal for an international campaign of solidarity with the youth and students of Iran. Tudeh Youth of Iran has called for the immediate release of all political prisoners including the arrested student activists.

WFDY protests in the strongest terms against the treatment of university students by the regime and demands immediate release of all imprisoned student activists. WFDY believes that all confessions extracted under torture from these students lack any value legally.

WFDY also demands that all tortures used against students, whether physical or psychological, to be stopped immediately and that the victims to be allowed access to their lawyers and legal counsels.

WFDY calls upon the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release all detained student activists.

WFDY further demands that the Iranian authorities refrain from deployment of military and security forces in university campuses and respect the academic independence and democratic rights of students and academics.

WFDY calls on all its member organizations to protest against the suppression of the Iranian youth and students and make representations to the diplomatic missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in their respective countries and call for the release of arrested student activists.

Coordinating Council of WFDY
Budapest, 28 January 2008


WFDY Appeal

Dec 3, 2007

Dear Comrades

We have received confirmed reports that a number of progressive university student activists have been arrested by the security forces in Iran. The arrests are in connection with the planned activities to mark “Student Day” this week in Tehran University. Every year Iranian progressive youth and university students mark 7th December, the “Student Day”, with rallies and demonstrations calling for democratic rights and freedoms, better conditions in universities, and in support of peace and democracy in Iran.

There are indications that the authorities plan to take further restrictive and punitive measures against the university student movement in the next few days.

Progressive students at Tehran University had publicised their intentions to hold a rally at the Technical Faculty of Tehran University with the slogan” No to the War, the universities are not barracks”

A number of these well-known and well-respected students were arrested during police raids to their houses while others disappeared in their way to their courses. Anusheh Azadfar, Alnaar Jamshidi, Ehsan Azadfar, Mehdi Grayelou, Nader Ahsani and Saeid Habibi are amongst those arrested by security forces on Sunday 2 December 2007 morning.

With these arrests the number of student activists in custody and under pressure from the authorities to give up their activities reaches 14. The dictatorial regime in Iran has shown its displeasure about youth and students activities promoting human and democratic rights and warning against the dangers of the US war policies towards Iran and the regime’s reactionary policies endangering the future of the nation.

Tudeh Youth of Iran, a member organisation of WFDY, has called these arrests as totally unjustified and has appealed for an international campaign for the release of student activists. Tudeh Youth of Iran believes that the regime is trying to frighten and silence the student movement, one of the key components of the movement for peace and democracy in Iran, ahead of the forthcoming important parliamentary election in February 2008.

WFDY calls upon the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release the detained student activists. WFDY further demands that the Iranian authorities refrain from deployment of military and security forces in university campuses and respect the academic independence and democratic rights of students and academics.

WFDY calls on all its member organizations to protest against these arrests to the diplomatic missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in their respective countries and call for the release of arrested student activists.

WFDY declares its total and unconditional opposition to all forms of US threats, military, diplomatic and economic, against Iran. The future of Iran and direction of developments in that country is only a matter for the people of Iran alone.

Coordinating Council of WFDY
Budapest, 3 December 2007


Free the imprisoned Iranian Youth;

Sep 17, 2007

Soheil Asefi has been in solitary confinement for forty days.
Statement signed by 720 social and political activists.

In the name of God

Freedom loving people of Iran;

Forty days have passed since Soheil Asefi; the freedom loving young journalist has been arrested. His accusations have no legal basis and the way he has been treated ignores the most fundamental of the human rights. His fault is nothing but publication of his articles, which contains no derogatory, false or accusative material, in different web sites. According to which law, even the most restrictive publication law of the Islamic Republic, has this been considered a conviction? Or where has he ignored and undermined the moral and social principles?

Soheil Asefi along with Farshad Ghorbanpoor and Masoud Bastani were arrested on Aug 4th, 2007, only because of publishing articles and interviews in a particular web site which carries no suspicion of being against the law or moral principles. Two of them were released under heavy bails, but Soheil, who is the youngest, was put in solitary confinement. The fault of all these brave youths with strong consciences of our country is their preference to live among their compatriots, with all the difficult and suppressive life under the Islamic Republic, instead of running away from their country and to choose countries which guarantee freedom of expression and live or pursue further education.

We the signatories, while requesting those officials who have put the extreme pressure on the youths and students of our country, express our deep concern for the future of Iran, and declare announce our profound apprehension over the life of Soheil Asefi and other imprisoned journalists and students, specially Ehsan Mansoori, Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakoli, Keyvan Ansari, Ali Derakhshandeh and Pooya Bahandar.

We demand from all the Iranian people and all the freedom lovers of the world, specially the writers and all the media, publications and the web sites to demand the unconditional and immediate release of all the above mentioned individuals. The suppression of the talents of these conscientious youths in Iran brings a blight over the future of our nation and its lofty aspirations.

720 signatures of social and political activists



July 16, 2007

Solidarity with the imprisoned leaders of the student movement in Iran

The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) has received reports about the arrest of a number of leading university student activists in Iran by the security forces of the Islamic Republic.

According to the reports we have received on July 9, 2007, the security and intelligence forces of the regime arrested six members of the Central Council of the Bureau for Consolidation of Unity (BCU) and transferred them to detention centers. These arrests come after months of intimidation and harassment of the student movement. A statement issued by the Tehran Council of the BCU says: “the new wave of pressures has pushed the students to the verge of clamor�In one day, six members of the Central Council of the BCU were arrested for peaceful sit-in in front of the Amir Kabir University, and after a short while, security forces stormed into the offices of “University Graduates” organization, and in an unlawful and willful action, abducted 9 of our friends.”

Amongst those arrested are leaders and cadres of the Bureau for Consolidation of Unity (BCU), the largest student association in the country and the “University Graduates” Organisation , including Abdollah Moemeni, member and spokesperson of the Central Council of BCU. BCU and the “Graduates” organization have been amongst the key forces for advance of democratic reforms in Iran in general and the university campuses across Iran.

At a time that the threat of US provocative military intervention is hanging over Iran and the need for organization of a popular and active peace movement is paramount, the arrest of leaders of the student movement could only harm the popular mobilisation for peace and against US threats.

Iranian youth and student movements have been one of the key components of all popular movement in Iran since the Second World War. The Iranian progressive youth and university students played a crucial role in the popular movement against the brutal Shah’s regime and the 1979 popular revolution in Iran and in all major political developments during the last three decades.

All democratic and progressive Iranian political forces have protested against these arrests and have called on the Iranian authorities to release the imprisoned student leaders.

Tudeh Youth of Iran, a long standing member organization of WFDY, has condemned the brutal actions of the suppressive organs of the regime in Iran and has called upon all the progressive and humanitarian forces in Iran and around the globe to use all in their power to defend the detained students and demand their unconditional and immediate release.

WFDY stands shoulder to shoulder with all progressive and democratic forces in Iran campaigning for peace, democracy and social justice to reject the US imperialism’s sinister threats against Iran. The future of Iran should only be decided by the Iranian people and WFDY condemns all US threats against Iran and interference in the internal affairs of the country.

WFDY also strongly condemns the arrest of leaders of the student movement in Iran and calls for their immediate release. It calls for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect the independence of the student and youth movement in the country and to refrain from interfering in their functioning.

WFDY expresses its full solidarity with the Iranian people and their struggle for peace, democracy and social justice.

The Coordinator Council of WFDY
Budapest, 16th July 2007.

WFDY – World Federation of Democratic Youth
1389 Budapest P.O.B. 147, XIII Frangepan Utca 16, Hungary
Tel/Fax: + 36 1 350 22 02 / 350 12 04
E-mail: / /
WFDY is an International NGO.
It has consultative status with United Nations (ECOSOC) and operational relation with UNESCO.
Presented a Peace Messenger award by UN Secretary General in 1987.


Universities in Iran are Under Attack

May 27, 2007

Kamran Daneshjoo reports from Tehran

University students in Iran are under increasing attack by pro regime militias and units of the security forces. Six student activists from Amirkabeer University were arrested on 2nd and 8th May 2007. The six are the editors of student publications that, according to the regime’s judiciary, have insulted Islam in their articles. Ahmad Ghasaban, one of the students, is detained in Evin Prison’s notorious section 209 which is controlled by the Intelligence and Security Service. According to Amnesty International Babak Zmanian, another student activist, has been detained and charged for”activities against national security” that may be related to his interviews with foreign radio programmes. On the evening of 20th May Saeed Izadbakhsh, a psychology student at Alameh University, was kidnapped by undercover agents in front of the student dormitory and later another 3 students were reported to have been arrested.

The wave of student arrests and intimidation is growing and leading to

protests at universities across Iran. The protesters are in turn brutally

attacked and assaulted by the vigilantes of a student militia group

called Bassijies. This group has close ties to the security structures of the regime.

The theocratic dictatorship in Iran has always viewed the universities

with suspicion and it is guilty of heinous crimes against the students. During the widely reported student protests at Tehran University on 9th July 1999, which sparked off days of street unrest, at least 5 students were reported dead and many were arrested. The defence lawyer of the detained students, Naser Zarafshan, was subsequently arrested and jailed for several years, having been accused of endangering national security. CODIR reported the death in custody of Akbar Mohammadi, one of those arrested for demonstrating on the 9th July, who died under suspicious circumstances in the early hours of 31 July 2006.

Due to various factors the theocratic dictatorship in Iran is facing a growing economic crisis and increasing social discontent. Ahmadinejad’s government, hiding behind its false anti-imperialist posture, is trying to gain respectability from the consequences of the actions of the US and its allies in the Middle East. Meanwhile, inside Iran, the government is attacking all dissenting voices among workers, women, students, teachers and any social group with the potential and the ability to organise and protest.

The universities in Iran have always been centres of social opposition to the ruling dictatorships. The Shah’s regime would routinely attack the universities and detain hundreds of students for their leftwing and progressive tendencies. Universities became the main centers of progressive opposition against the Shah’s regime. However, the Islamic regime, soon after the 1979 revolution, fearful of the student movement, forced the closure of all universities under the guise of a disastrous”cultural revolution” aimed at up-routing left forces from the campuses across the country.

Once again Iran’s student movement is facing a critical challenge and the ongoing struggle to oppose the ruling dictatorship needs the international solidarity of all progressive and democratic forces.


Student rebels in Iran expelled and earmarked for army

The Guardian

Friday March 2, 2007

Robert Tait in Tehran

– Crackdown follows protest during Ahmadinejad visit
– Compulsory service seen as government revenge

Iranian students involved in an angry protest against the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been expelled and earmarked for compulsory military service in an apparent act of official retribution.

Authorities at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, a traditional hotbed of student protest, have ended the studies of 54 students, ostensibly for repeatedly failing their exams. However, most of the students singled out are political activists who took part in December’s demonstration at the university at which President Ahmadinejad was greeted with chants of “death to the dictator”. Many students with equally poor academic records have been allowed to continue, activists said.

The demonstration, which sparked violent clashes between protesters and Basij volunteers loyal to the president, was triggered by student anger over a campus clampdown by the government. One activist displayed a banner reading: “Fascist president, the polytechnic is not for you.” Others held portraits of Mr Ahmadinejad upside down and set them alight. One student had his nose broken by a cabinet minister’s aide and a member of Mr Ahmadinejad’s security team fired a stun grenade to disperse demonstrators.

Several protesters later went into hiding fearing for their lives after being threatened by the president’s supporters.

Mr Ahmadinejad later announced that the dissenting students should go unpunished. Ali Azizi, vice-secretary of the Islamic Students Committee, said the wave of expulsions broke that pledge. “Many of the expelled students are political activists and were present at the protests … It demonstrates revenge against the students’ protests … In the past, questions over academic performance have not [been] considered reason for expulsion. Students with even worse academic records exist among student organisations supported by the government but they have not faced expulsion.”

The university chancellor, Ali Reza Rahai, an ally of Mr Ahmadinejad , accompanied the expulsion orders by signing eligibility notices allowing the students to be enlisted into the armed forces. That effectively makes good a threat by Mr Ahmadinejad that he would arrange for students with three stars under the university’s disciplinary code to be enrolled as army sergeants. This system has been extensively used to punish those involved in political activities on campus.

The protest against Mr Ahmadinejad was also related to moves to segregate female and male students, the closure of campus magazines and the demolition of buildings belonging to the students committee. Campus guards were also ordered to refuse admission to women wearing make-up and “too short” coats.


Iranian students hide in fear for lives after venting fury at Ahmadinejad

The Guardian

Tuesday December 18, 2006

Robert Tait in Tehran

The president's backers show their support during his visit to Amir Kabir university last week to counter protests by student activists.

Iranian student activists who staged an angry protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week have gone into hiding in fear for their lives after his supporters threatened them with revenge.

One student fled after being photographed holding a banner reading, “Fascist president, the polytechnic is not for you”, during Mr Ahmadinejad’s visit to Tehran’s Amir Kabir university. At least three others have gone underground after being seen burning his picture. Vigilantes from the militant Ansar-e Hezbollah group have been searching for them.

In a startling contrast to the acclaim Mr Ahmadinejad has received in numerous recent appearances around Iran, he faced chants of “Death to the dictator” as he addressed a gathering in the university’s sports hall last week. Several hundred students forced their way in to voice anger over a clampdown on universities since he became president last year.

While his aides played down the incident, the Guardian has learned details of the violent and chaotic events.

The disclosures came yesterday as early returns from Friday’s council elections indicated that Mr Ahmadinejad’s hardline supporters had failed in their attempt to take control of several key local authorities. Turnout was estimated at about 60% after reformers urged liberal-minded electors to vote in large numbers to protest against the government’s policies.

Last Monday’s university demonstration triggered violent clashes between student activists and crowds of Basij militia, who were there to support the president. A shoe was thrown at Mr Ahmadinejad while a student had his nose broken by an aide to a cabinet minister.

Protesters later surrounded the president’s car, prompting a security guard to fire a stun grenade to warn them off. Four cars in the presidential convoy collided in their haste to leave. Mr Ahmadinejad’s staff later insisted he had remained calm and ordered that the students should go unpunished. But some of those present say he accused them of being paid United States agents who would be confronted.

“He threatened us directly, saying that what we were doing was against the wishes of the nation,” said Babak Zamanian, a spokesman for Amir Kabir university’s Islamic students’ committee. “After that, the students protested even more sharply, calling him a lying religious dictator and shouting, ‘Forget America and start thinking about us!’

“We were chanting, ‘Get lost Ahmadinejad!’ and ‘Ahmadinejad – element of discrimination and corruption.’ You could see from his face that he was really shocked. He wasn’t flashing his usual smile, and at one stage I thought he was going to cry. He told his supporters to respond with a religious chant hailing Ahmadinejad, but he was so shaken he was actually chanting it himself.”

Another student said: “He was trying to keep control of himself, but you could see he was angry and upset.”

Witnesses say Mr Ahmadinejad also tried to ridicule the students by referring to the university disciplinary code, under which those with three penalty points are suspended from studies. “He joked that he was going to issue a presidential order for those with three stars to be enlisted as sergeants in the army. That made the students really angry,” said Mr Zamanian.

The university authorities’ contentious use of the disciplinary code was said to be a trigger for last week’s protest. About 70 students have been suspended and threatened with expulsion for various political activities, including writing articles critical of the government.

Last month, the authorities demolished two building belonging to the Islamic students’ committee – a moderate grouping representing diverse opinions. An elected student body was also disbanded. Women students have been told to wear conservative dress and remove any makeup.

In this atmosphere, activists at Amir Kabir university – a traditional hotbed of political activism – regarded Mr Ahmadinejad’s visit as a deliberate provocation and decided to protest. While many chanted, a hard core waved banners and burned his portrait, some ignoring instructions to cover their faces.

The 21-year-old student holding the “fascist president” banner was among those threatened with expulsion. He is said to be in grave danger after foreign news outlets, including the Guardian, published a picture of his gesture. Friends say he went into hiding after being confronted by two vigilantes.

“They said they would pull his father out of the grave [an ancient Persian threat],” said one student. “He is in real danger. Vigilantes have been standing at the dormitory doors asking for him.”

Students now fear an even fiercer crackdown. “We believe [the authorities] will react much worse than before,” said Armin Salmasi, 26, a leading activist. “We are already under constant surveillance. The student movement in Iran is going to be driven underground – just like it was before the revolution.”


Students protest against Ahmadinejad

The Guardian

Tuesday December 12, 2006

Robert Tait in Tehran

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faced an unprecedented outburst of public opposition yesterday from student demonstrators who burned his picture and chanted “Death to the dictator”.

In the first sign of open dissent since he took office last year, dozens of activists shouted abuse and set off firecrackers as Mr Ahmadinejad addressed students at Tehran’s Amir Kabir university. They were voicing anger at what they say is an increasing repressiveness on Iran’s campuses under his government. A presidential aide said 50 to 60 students took part in the protest

The heckling prompted scuffles between the protesters and the president’s supporters, who chanted: “Ahmadi, Ahmadi, we support you.”

Mr Ahmadinejad, who was marking Iranian students’ day, answered the “dictator” taunts by saying: “Everyone knows the real dictator is America and its servants.” He added: “A few who claim there is a stifling climate are trying to stifle the majority by not letting them hear what is being said.”

As students set fire to his picture, he said: “Everyone should know that Ahmadinejad is prepared to be burned in the path of true freedom, independence and justice.”

Mr Ahmadinejad – who has turned his appearances before mass audiences into a potent political tool – has insisted that the protesters should not be punished, Reuters reported, citing a presidential spokesman.

The outburst came as Iranians prepare to go to the polls on Friday for elections to local councils and the powerful assembly of experts. It will be Mr Ahmadinejad’s first electoral test since taking office and comes as his government is under pressure over rising prices and a perceived failure to deliver on economic promises.

The protest was also the latest in a series of recent signs of unrest on Iran’s campuses, which had been largely quiet since the brutal suppression of a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations under Mr Ahmadinejad’s reformist predecessor, Mohammed Khatami.

On Sunday, an estimated 700 Amir Kabir university students protested against a clampdown that has included the closure of the Islamic students’ committee and the exclusion of former activists from courses. They were also demonstrating against the demolition of the students’ committee building and the imposition of the university chancellor without elections. Police restricted access to the campus as demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans. Last week, hundreds of students at Tehran university – a traditional hotbed of political protest – were confronted by police as they chanted: “We only want freedom of expression.”

Vahid Abedini, a member of the university’s democracy seekers’ committee, told the pro-reformist Etemad newspaper that the gatherings had been organised to defend the independence and freedom of universities.

Hundreds of students with a record of political activism have been barred from academic courses while many lecturers have been forced to retire.

This year, Mr Ahmadinejad demanded a purge of “secular and liberal” lecturers, whom he accused of having been a fifth column for western values and colonialism in Iran for the past 150 years. Under his presidency, a hardline cleric was appointed chancellor of Tehran university for the first time.

The remains of “martyrs” from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war have been given burial ceremonies in several universities in what has been seen as a pretext for allowing pro-government vigilantes entry to keep watch on student activities.


Iran’s fundamentalists push for segregation on campus

The Guardian

Monday November 20, 2006

Robert Tait in Tehran

Religious fundamentalists in Iran are demanding separate university classes for men and women in a drive to impose puritanical Islamic values on the country’s campuses.

The call – backed by senior figures close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – comes as new statistics show female students outnumbering their male counterparts in a sharp reversal of traditionally masculine-dominated trends.

It is being spearheaded by Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohamadian, a cleric heading the state body representing Mr Khamenei in the nation’s universities. Mr Mohamadian warned in a speech that universities were descending into “fashion shows” and urged chancellors to punish students who breached Islamic rules on dress code and gender-mingling. He demanded segregated classes and the evaluation of faculty members on religious and moral grounds to transform the culture.

“At present the public environment of universities is free and the moral situation is offensive,” Mr Mohamadian told a gathering of university administrators. “University chancellors are responsible not just for education and research, but for the religion, beliefs and ideas of students. If one or two out of the minority who deface universities are confronted and severely disciplined, the rest will be warned and change their ways.”

The demand is in line with a clampdown that has seen CCTV surveillance cameras installed on some campuses. Politically active students have been denied access to courses and large numbers of lecturers forced to retire. Two months ago, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded a purge of liberal and secular lecturers.

Iran’s Islamic laws already require men and women to sit in different rows in classes and lecture halls. Campus libraries, reading rooms, refectories and halls of residences are also segregated.

The higher education ministry is resisting further separation as impractical and unnecessary. However, the proposal has strong support from MPs on the influential parliamentary cultural committee.

“When the working environment is all-male or all-female, employees and students are liberated from certain distractions,” Mousalreza Servati, a committee member, told the ILNA news agency. “In free environments, the possibility exists that when a lady passes, a gentleman likes her face or her behaviour and has it not happened quite often that this interest later results in the wife leaving the husband to marry another man.”


Security Forces Attack Student Organization


21 Sep 2006

Navid Ahmadi

Danesh-amookhtegan Tahkim Vahdat student organization [a.k.a. Advare Tahkim Vahdat] was searched by agents of the Attorney General’s office without prior notice and part of its property was removed and confiscated.

According to news reports, this Monday, September 18, 2006, ten agents of the Attorney General’s office entered the offices of the student organization without any prior warning and after a four-hour search of the premises took away all the documents, organizational papers, archives and computers from the offices and transferred them to an undisclosed location. All the agents wore civilian clothes and carried a warrant. They said they were from the inspectorate office of the Advare Tahkim Vahdat student organization and carried a warrant that had been signed by judge Matin Rasekh from a bench of the Ministry of Justice.

Following the assault, the organization held an emergency meeting and its spokesperson Abdollah Momeni told Rooz that the assault on their office, which took place while Mr. Mousavi, the secretary general of the student organization had been in detention for 100 days and the illegal arrest of Mousavi Khoeini remained in uncertainty, destroyed the security of civil institutions, and pro-democracy and reformist groups. “This leaves no room for civil and peaceful activities,” he added. “While the secretary general of a legal organization is illegally detained and kept in solitary confinement, this latest attack on the offices of the organization is an act of intimidation,” Momeni said.

Advar News, the news outlet for the student organization quoted Momeni in saying that such acts were the consequence of the fact that the whole official political establishment of the country rested in the hands of the hardliners, who aimed at cracking down on civil activities and political groupings. He further said that such activities merely threatened the free and independent activities of groups. He also expressed his expectation that pro-democracy individuals, groups and reformist organizations would voice their protests against such official acts in defense of political rights and the rights of associations.


Dissident Student Activist “Dies” in Custody

Akbar Mohammadi, an Iranian student activist, has died in jail while on a hunger strike to demand his release.

02 Aug 2006

Akbar Mohammadi was first arrested in 1999 after clashes between the security forces and students at Tehran University. He was freed last year but was recently rearrested and began his fast. Authorities say they are investigating the cause of his death. They say Mr Mohammadi was under the care of a doctor in jail.

“He was under intense supervision by the prison physician. Last night his health condition deteriorated,” Justice Minister Jamal Karimirad told Reuters news agency. “He insisted on going back to his cell. His condition weakened again there and he died on his way to the hospital,” he said.

Mr Mohammadi’s lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, complained that he was not granted access to his client in jail. Mr Bahramian said he had wanted to see him to persuade him to stop the hunger strike.

“This is a violation of international conventions and Iran’s Islamic laws,” he said. Mr Mohammadi was initially sentenced to death for his role in anti-government protests, but it was later commuted to 15 years in prison.

Calls for Independent Investigation

Amnesty International said his death in custody had cast a pall over the entire Iranian justice system. The organisation called for an independent investigation and post mortem examination to determine the cause of Mr Mohammadi’s death and the conditions that led to it.

Amnesty International alleged that Mr Mohammadi had been routinely tortured from the day of his arrest in 1999. It also alleged that the information available strongly indicated that repeated delays or outright denials of adequate medical care by Iran’s judicial and prison authorities had contributed to his death in custody. The organisation also called for an independent investigation into his death.


Amnesty said that Mr Mohammadi had reportedly undertaken a hunger strike, during the last few days of which he had refused liquids as well as solids. However, Iranian prison officials have been quoted as saying that he was drinking water and tea.

Iran’s Justice Minister, Jamal Karimirad, said Mr Mohammadi had been under intense supervision by the prison doctor, but had insisted on going back to his cell. There his condition again deteriorated and he died on the way to hospital. The Iranian authorities say the coroner’s office is investigating his death. But a number of reformist groups inside Iran have also called for an independent investigation.


Hardliners Demolish Student Office


Shahram Rafizadeh

02 Aug 2006

Mounting pressures on Iranian student activists has reached a turning point. Amir Kabir University news bulletin reported that the office of its student association was demolished in the presence of management and faculty members and with the approval and support of Dr. Rahaiee, the chancellor of the University who is also the representative of the leader at the institution. According to the bulleting, the contents of the office were taken to an undisclosed location.

Every year the university hosts a series of cultural and political events, i.e. festivals, which are partly organized at the student association offices. With the destruction of this office, it is not clear how the events are going to be organized. Ramin Jahanbegloo and Mousavi Khoeini, two leading speakers and professors of this University are both currently in prison. Government hardliners recently announced that the activities of Amir Kabir University Students Association were illegal. Students and their activities have been under mounting pressures over a year now. Some student activists have been under overt and covert pressure from officials and agents, and with the destruction of their offices, their sphere of activities is curtailed even further.

According to the student news bulletin, senior university officials surrounded the building, cut the iron stairs and demolished the offices including the library, the audio-visual unit and took away everything from the offices to an undisclosed location. The bulletin adds that the destruction and confiscation were carried out in the presence of police, intelligence and security agents who tried to arrest some of the protesting association members.

When the news of arrest of a number of Islamic Association of Students Amir Kabir University members was first published last June, many anticipated that the arrests were a measure to prevent the repeat of the 1998 student unrest. But two weeks into their detentions, the hardline supervisory board of Islamic Associations of Amir Kabir University announced that all the activities of the association were illegal and that no individual or group could legally engage in any activity in the name of the banned association.



Iranian hawk swoops on universities to crush dissent


Robert Tait in Tehran

Monday March 27, 2006
The Guardian

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cracking down on Iran’s universities in an effort to crush a student pro-democracy movement and strengthen the hardliners’ grip on power.

Leading student activists have been jailed or expelled from their studies, and lecturers have been sacked, while the government has proposed subjecting academics to strict religious testing.

The authorities have also begun a programme of burying the bodies of unknown soldiers on campus grounds in what student leaders say is a thinly disguised attempt to bring religious extremists into the universities on the pretext of holding “martyrs’ ceremonies”. Students fear that such a presence will be used to violently suppress their activities.

In one recent incident students at Tehran’s Sharif University were attacked by plain-clothed Basij (religious volunteers) during an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the burial of three soldiers from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war inside the campus mosque. The incident was overseen by Mehrdad Bazrpash, a close aide to Mr Ahmadinejad and a former Basij leader.

The event took place against a backdrop of speeches by Mr Ahmadinejad, a former university lecturer, stressing the need for “martyrdom” in Iran’s confrontation with the west over its nuclear programme.

Student leaders say the developments amount to a takeover of the universities by Mr Ahmadinejad’s ultra-conservative forces. The campuses were hotbeds of pro-democratic protest during the presidency of the former, reformist leader, Mohammad Khatami. “They want to gain hegemonic control over the universities, which have always been important in influencing the social and political atmosphere and which normally support pro-democracy rather than authoritarian forces,” said Abdollah Momeni, an activist appealing against a five-year sentence imposed for leading a student protest.

“Through burying martyrs on campus they open the doors for the entry of armed militias and thus add the universities to their fiefdoms.”

Other activists have had their studies terminated after the intervention of Iran’s intelligence services. Students also say they have been denied permission for low-level political activities that were allowed during Mr Khatami’s presidency.

The purge has extended to academics and university administrators. One political science lecturer was dismissed for belonging to a human rights group.

The chancellor of Tehran’s Science and Industry University resigned in protest at government interference. Mr Ahmadinejad has also been accused of overturning an established practice of appointing chancellors and faculty heads from academic staff in favour of trusted cronies. A radical cleric was recently appointed to head Tehran University.



The Cat and Mouse Game at the Universities


Hassan Zarehzadeh Ardeshir

04 Jul 2006

A week after the banning of the Student Association of Amir Kabir University (a major university student organization in Iran) the wide student crackdown has been rising. More student activists have been either detained by officials or summoned, another student association banned and other student groups either harassed or hassled.

Protesting this trend four days ago, 652 student activists issued a statement in which its signatories strongly condemned the arrest of students specifically Yashar Qajjar and Abed Tavancheh, calling the acts violations of the principle of freedom of speech, the Charter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and limiting academic freedoms, requesting the release of the detained.

“The hardline rulers (of Iran) must be asked that how can students who have engaged in peaceful civil protests because their basic rights such as the right to organize, the right to have a healthy and secure dormitory, the right to have a publication, and the right to express their views have been denied be considered to be preys of foreign states?” the students ask in their statement.

In a related act, university students from the Zanjan province in the south have sent a separate letter to Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) deputies calling on for the release of Qajjar and Tavancheh.

At the same time, members of the Islamic Association of Amir Kabir University Students are on a sit-in strike in protest to the recent crackdown on students of their university. Ali Reza Garagozloo, a member of the central council of the association told ISNA student news agency, explained the reason of the strike to be, “The illegal detention of Abed Tavancheh and Yashar Qajjar, the summons that have been sent by the disciplinary committee, the illegal ban on 11 student publications without notice to their managing editors and the banning of the association.”

Two other students in the towns of Zanjan and Ahar were recently detained and are kept at security centers. According to Advar News, Reza Abbasi, a member of organization Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat and a founding member of ASMAK (the committee for the defense of political prisoners in Azarbaijan) who had refrained from responding to the summons issued to him by the provincial Intelligence Bureau was arrested last week.

According to a bulletin of the student committee for the defense of political prisoners, Akram Asadollahi, a student of Tehran University and a political activist in Azarbaijan province was arrested 3 days ago by security agents in his house in Ahar and released 2 days later.

In another event, the Urumieh University Supervisory Board summoned Sajjad Niknam, the head of the Islamic Association for the second time in two months to respond to the complaints of a number of different Urumieh University institutions. A number of students have also been summoned to the university’s disciplinary board for questioning.

At the University of Mazandaran 14 members of the student organization were also summoned to the institution’s disciplinary board.

During the past week, the offices of the Islamic Association of Sistan and Baluchistan University were attacked and some of the members of the association were physically assaulted by an employee of the disciplinary office.

With the arrests of Reza Abbasi last week, and the continuation of the detention of Qajjar and Tavancheh and other students from Tehran University (detained on July 18th), the number of student detainees is rising. But as officials continue their assaults, so do students who continue their activities and demands, particularly those from Amir Kabir University who view the ban on their association to be illegal and challenge it.



Crackdown on Students Increases


Hassan ZareZadeh Ardeshir

23 Jun 2006

After the arrest of Abed Tavanche and Yashar Ghajar, two student activists from Amir Kabir University which has led to student protests and sit-ins, intelligence agencies of Iran are planning harsher treatment of students. According to information obtained in this regard, tens of summonses issued by student disciplinary committees and the closure of many student publications are on the agenda of the agencies.

Last week, law enforcement agencies dealt harshly with the press conference of members of Amir Kabir student organization (also known as Polytechnic University) for the domestic and foreign media. In that incident, the agents broke the camera of a journalist which led the students to hold their conference through the university’s fence that separates the campus.

Following the summons and harsh treatment of students, Peyman Aref, a student at Tehran University’s Law College has been summoned to court because of a complaint filed by the president of Tehran University and the legal group of the school. Furthermore, seven students from Shahid Rajai University in Tehran have been summoned to the university’s disciplinary committee because of their protesting sit-in regarding the activities of the management and services of the university. At Kurdestan University too following a student sin in about two weeks ago, two students have been called in to the university disciplinary board.

Currently, Yashar Ghajar and Abed Tavancheh two students who were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence of Iran continue to be held in Evin prison.

Last Saturday, the Student Society of Amir Kabir University protested the detainment of Ghajar and Tavancheh in a letter to the head of the country’s judiciary and called on him to look into the matter. The letter in part reads, “you have said that it is not right to arrest a suspect and inform him of his detention five days after his arrest. Rights of people must be respected prior to the judiciary’s treatment of the detainee. This right must be so clear that every one should know of the manner of arrest, where it took place and its time. People’s freedom must under no circumstances be curtailed. A suspect must be informed of the charges against him and when he will be informed of this. No one has the right to issue an order, prevent family visits or deny an attorney to a suspect contrary to the law. He must clearly know that he can request for a confidential meeting with his attorney.”

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the defense attorney for Ghajar and Tavancheh said in this regard, “While almost a month has passed since the arrest of these two individuals, the preliminary investigation should be over by now and my clients must now enjoy the legal rights and privileges in connection with having an attorney. But I have not till today succeeded in visiting them or even reading their file.”

These events take place as another student detainee, Akbar Mohammadi, who was on medical leave from prison, was arrested a few days ago from his house and taken to Evin prison in Tehran.



Regime closes the Student Society of Isfahan University


Sara Isfahani

25 Jun 2006

As the regime pursues its policies of confronting student activists and members of student Islamic societies, which is the center for activities of protesting students, the Islamic society of Isfahan University was shut by official order.

According to a Rooz reporter, following the events at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University that led to unrest and the intervention of pressures groups, the president of Isfahan University cancelled the elections of the Islamic society of the university and issued a decree closing the society altogether.

The new wave of crackdown of Islamic societies that began with Tehran’s Amir Kabir University has rapidly spread to other parts of the country. There are reports that the minister of science has sent a confidential circular to the presidents of all universities across Iran requesting them to cancel any elections in them if the elections cannot be rigged or candidates disqualified.



Student Unrest in Tehran


Dana Shahsavari

29 May 2006

In the third day of the protests of students at Tehran University, the casualties already include 18 students who have been temporarily fired and 5 teachers or professors who have been coerce fully asked to retire. Toorang, police’s public relations officer for the Greater Tehran told ISNA news agency that a group of”pseudo-students” appeared among students at the Tehran University campus and by taking over the control of a section, engaged in attacking passing vehicles and public property. He added that those who were directing the violence were not university students.

The strike we publicly called for Saturday January the 28th of 2006 was suppressed with an unprecedented brutality by the security and intelligence forces of government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The picketing drivers and staff were beaten, threatened, intimidated and forced to return to work by the security agents. Women and children of the members of the Board of Directors of the Union were beaten and assaulted and pulled out of their homes and taken hostage in order to force their husbands to surrender to security authorities. A great many of the Board members along with thousands of workers and staff of Tehran and Suburbs Public Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) were arrested and transferred to the infamous Evin Prison and the other prisons of the Ministry of Intelligence. Many Union activists were fired and their return to work is now conditional upon a written consent to remorse regarding their trade union activities.

Tehran’s police chief too spoke of the arrest of 8 “pseudo-students” in connection with yesterday’s student protests, claiming that between 20 to 30 opportunists participated in the violence.

On the other hand, Gamsari, the student deputy of Tehran University has said that some of the student demands were raised under the cover of other demands, but they had crossed the government’s red line of tolerance.

And while there are no reports in local publications or news agencies, the conservative pro-government Keyhan newspaper carried a story under the heading of: “The violence of Representative of the American Congress in Tehran University.” In its special report, it wrote, “Yesterday using the pretext of the resignation of some teachers from the College of Law of Tehran University, a group of students belonging to Daftare Tahkim Vahdat (Office of Student Solidarity which is the largest student organization in Iran) staged a protest and disrupted classes on campus. A few days earlier, this group which is led by Ali Afshari and Akbar Atri who had gone to the US Congress and given a speech against the regime and the Iranian nation, thus adding another shameful chapter to this student organization, has been trying over the past few days to disrupt the calm atmosphere of the scientific centers of the country through violence and clashes.”

Students on the other hand, report a completely different story. In short, they say that students from Tehran University staged a demonstration outside the campus to commemorate 2 Khordad elections (i.e. the day when on May 23 of 1997 Mohammad Khatami was elected president and launched a reform movement in the country) and to protest the transgressions of university authorities into student and teacher domains. Students chanted slogans such as “We do not want nuclear energy” and “Leave Palestine to itself, Focus on Us”. They also requested a change in the management organization of the institution and the manner in which the university community was treated.

One student who had climbed the fence of the campus told Rooz Online that there were clashes all over the campus and that students lived in fear. He added that at the entrance to the campus, there were many shoes and sandals, and that there was a lot of blood that had been spilled. He further contended that there were at least 12 individuals who had been hurt in the clashes 5 of whom were in critical condition, while there was no way to take them to a hospital. “We students have not wanted any clashes, but the law enforcement force acts in a way as if it wants to deny us any peaceful event. While we want both sides to retreat, they strive to assault and enter the campus,” he said. “If they retreat, we too shall return,” he added. He also said that the police was extremely brutal in its attacks so that many students could not even walk away from the scene on their own.

Last Wednesday too most of the universities in Tehran witnessed unrest. Campus police whose force has tremendously increased in size since the beginning of the Persian year (March 22, 2006), and during the last 48 hours has put more officers in the field. Being novices may partly explain the extreme brutality used by the force in these events. Azeri students who had staged their own demonstration to protest the publication of insulting cartoons in pro-government Iran newspaper also joined the students in their calls. They began their strike at the Pardis College of Literature and continued for a few hours.

Reporters who had been assigned to cover the event were stopped by the campus police and not allowed to enter it, even though one can always talk to students through the railed fence of the school. Azeri students demonstrated on the campus of Tehran University under a banner that read “We are Turks” and ended their march after issuing a declaration in which they called for the restoration of the suppressed rights of Turkish speaking Iranians.

Yet another protest was staged at Tehran University’s College of Law and Political Science in which some 2,000 students participated. These students protested the assaults on the students on campus and the arrests of other students. This group which began gathering at about noon, ended its demonstration at about 7pm with an ultimatum that if student demands were not met by Saturday, they would again stage new protests.

Observers have estimated the size of these protests to be the largest since the unrest two years ago this month. Students from Allame-Tabatabai, Amir Kabir and Khaje Nasir universities too joined the protesting students from Tehran University.

Students ended their protest and demonstrations after reading their statement of demands, which included the return of dismissed teachers. They also demanded an apology from officials for violating their student rights, the release of 5 arrested students, the removal of security measures on campus, recognition of their right to organize and remain active, an investigation into the situation of the dismissed students and also the group summon of students before the university disciplinary committee.