Defend University Lecturers in Iran

Defending the security of universities is defending the freedom of thought, democracy and a progressive society.

CODIR (Committee for the Defence of Iranian People’s Rights) calls on all trade unions to join the solidarity movement with lecturers and students.

Since late 2022, Iranian universities have once again become the target of the rage of the regime and Islamic fundamentalists. The dismissal of freedom-seeking university professors, suppression of secular and progressive student activists and efforts to islamise the university campuses are clear evidence of this move.

The ruling theocratic regime sees the support of university professors for students fighting for their rights and freedoms and taking part in the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement in 2022-2023, as justification for starting another cycle of harsh suppression and ideological purges in the country’s universities.

In September 2023, an official document was published which clearly outlined President Raisi’s administration’s plan to recruit 15 thousand new pro-regime academic staff, by way of “recommendation” and not according to their qualification and merit. The new recruits are to replace thousands of university professors and academic staff who have shown signs of libertarianism, justice, leftist inclinations and support for progressive left ideas.

Hossein Shariatmadari, a well-known prison interrogator/torturer from the 1980s and the editor-in-chief of the Kayhan newspaper, welcomed this process in his editorial: “Several university faculty members who supported the protesters during last autumn’s protests [2022- 23] … have been expelled from the universities and this is the least and most trivial punishment for their actions!”

Other published reports also mention the security charges against nearly 400 students of Amir Kabir University who participated in 2022- 2023 popular protests.

Since the early years of taking power, the Islamic Republic has shown open hostility towards the country’s universities. Student activists and progressive academics have been the target of bloody oppressions. Despite repeated purges, closures and the “militarisation” of campuses, they have continued to keep the universities as strongholds for defending people’s freedom and rights, keeping with the tradition of student movement and struggle against the Pahlavi dictatorial regime and will continue to do so.

In 1980, the theocratic regime ordered the closures of the country’s universities to start the purging of academic staff and students, under the title of the “Cultural Revolution”. Khomeini, in a speech on 18 December 1980, expressed his deeply reactionary, anti-scientific and anti-human understanding of the academia: “When we take a comprehensive look at the world and all the universities in the world, we see that all the calamities that have befallen humanity have their roots in the universities. They are rooted in these academic institutions…”.

CODIR campaigns for peace, human and democratic rights and social justice in Iran. CODIR condemns the reactionary policies of the ruling theocratic regime in Iran.

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