University Protests in Iran Continue

Islamic Regime Cracking Down on Student Activists

Ebrahim Norouzi, MD

The Mossadegh Project | December 6, 2010                   

December 7th, known as Student Day (16 Azar / Rouz-e Daneshjoo), commemorates the day three Tehran University students were murdered on campus by the Shah’s police. On that day in 1953, Tehran University students boycotted their classes and demonstrated in opposition to the restoration of diplomatic relations with Britain. Two day later the angry and grief-stricken students clashed with the police during a huge demonstration against the arrival of Vice President Richard Nixon. A large number of students were arrested.

Student Day banner- The University is Alive In subsequent years, student rallies held on the anniversary of the deaths of Ahmad Ghandchi, Mehdi Shariatrazavi and Mostafa Bozorgnia generally received harsh reaction by the Shah’s security forces.

In 1962, I was a third year medical student in Tehran University, and participated in one of the most massive demonstrations to date. This was during a period of renewed unrest with the Shah’s regime in the country, and the crowd was several thousand strong, with a succession of impassioned speakers taking the podium. Though the demonstration was peaceful, there was tension in the air, as the entire campus was surrounded by many hundreds of troops and truck loads of armed soldiers. Yet in the face of this, we felt relatively safe, believing the troops would never enter university property. This was true...on that day.

About six weeks later, another demonstration took place by Tehran University students protesting the recent arrest and imprisonment of many politically active high school students. On this day, January 21, 1962, I was off campus and not a participant, but soon heard the news of the violence that ensued. Army commandos had entered the grounds of the university, indiscriminately attacking the students. Many students were chased inside the buildings and further beaten or injured. The commandos rampaged inside school labs, destroying equipment, and severely attacked students in the libraries, many of whom were there only to study. I later learned that the Shah himself had personally approved the attack.

The University chancellor, Dr. Ahmad Farhad, shocked by the brutality against the students, promptly submitted his letter of resignation:

“I have never seen or heard so much cruelty, sadism, atrocity and vandalism on the part of government forces”, he wrote. “Some of the girls were criminally attacked by the soldiers. When we inspected the university buildings we were faced with the same situation as an army of barbarians had invaded an enemy territory”.
[source: The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations By James A. Bill (1988)]

Fast forward to current day Iran. The universities are again under attack, this time by the Islamic government. As punishment for their political activism, scores of students have faced expulsion or been arrested and sentenced to lashes, large fines, and long imprisonments. A number of students have also been killed in recent years.

Charges levied by the Islamic regime against them have included:
1) Acting against national security
2) Disorderly conduct
3) Insulting the President
4) Propagandizing against the state

Faculties of many universities have also been purged on political and religious grounds, particularly since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Iran’s President.

Reports from Iran indicate that the government is preparing to crack down hard on students following announcements of further student protest. Like their predecessors, today’s student activists refuse to be silenced and will continue to voice their protest against state tyranny.

Agitational Activities of Anti-Shah Iranian Students in the US (1963)
Agitational Activities of Anti-Shah Iranian Students in the United States (Oct. 1963)


Related links:

Demand For Iranian Flags To Burn Spikes In U.S. (Nov. 1979)

Muslim Brotherhood: Anwar Sadat Rescues the Ailing Shah (1980)

Exiled Shah of Iran’s Letter to Chase Manhattan Bank CEO David Rockefeller (1979)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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