Iranian Police Hold 15 Students After Protest Against Regime

The students are restless in Iran…

15 more students were arrested this weekend in northern Iran.
These signs were displayed at an earlier student protest in December.

The situation in Iran is deteriorating as the regime continues to escalate its repression of human rights.
ADN Kronos reports on the latest student arrests:

Police on Sunday evening arrested 15 students at the University of Babol, in Mazanderan province, bordering the Caspian Sea in the north. The 15 were staging a protest against the arrest on Saturday of Bijan Sabbah, the leader of the local students’ association, and had organized a hunger strike at the local campus to attract the public’s attention to his case.

Ali Nikunesbati, spokesman for Tahkim Vahdat, Iran’s main students’ association, told Adnkronos International (AKI) that he considered the arrests at the university of Mazanderan “a direct consequence of recent statements by ministers of the Ahmadinejad government who said that grassroots movements, especially womens’ rights and students’ groups, are tools of the enemy.”

“The real problem is the inability of the current government to confront the real problems of society and respond to the needs of the people,” he said. “It is no coincidence that along with women and students, teachers and labour workers are the ones who are protesting today.”

Madrid11.net reported that things do not look good for the regime as they continue their violence against the Iranian people:

The Iranian government has come under unusually sharp criticism by the association of Iranian Academics for its flagrant abuse of human rights. In an open letter, the authors accuse authorities of “systematically and intentionally disregarding even the most basic rights.”

Critics and dissenters have been removed from their jobs, imprisoned without any legal grounds or recourse to a lawyer, and forced to make accusatory confessions. Universities have let go of numerous liberal lecturers, while critical students have been prevented from continuing with their studies…

In fact, the political situation in Iran has drastically worsened since Ahmadinejad was sworn into office last July. A number of independent newspapers, such as Shargh, the largest reformist newspaper, have been banned. The tightening up of censorship, the persecution of critics, and repression of those cultural and scientific institutions and independent organizations not willing to bend to the dictates of the government are threatening to completely paralyze free cultural activity in the country.

The severe limits placed on the freedom of expression have been primarily directed against writers, journalists, and intellectuals critically opposed to the new power elite. The repression signifies not only a blow to freedom of speech, but also entails enormous economic consequences.

The government seems determined to use all means at its disposal to isolate and criminalize any deviation of Islamic ideology. Ahmadinejad recently called upon students to expel professors advocating liberal positions from their posts. Administrative staff at all universities and colleges has been replaced. The whole educational system has fallen under the control of militia organizations, namely, the Basij and the Revolutionary Guard, who observe the behavior of students via newly installed video cameras.

The Iranian Ministry of Education has announced plans to reintroduce separate instruction for women and men, although such an attempt in the first years following the revolution failed. Mohammad Mohammadian, representative of the Revolutionary Leader Ayatollah Khamenei for matters of higher education, criticised universities as having become “fashion houses.”

All this has provoked massive protest on the part of students. On December 6, Iran’s annual Students Day, thousands attended a protest demonstration on the campus of Tehran University organized by Tahkim Vahdat, the country’s largest student organization. Security forces at first tried to block entrances, but students eventually succeeded in breaking through the main gates.

“I would like to ask Revolutionary Leader Khamenei what was the justification for a student being killed in prison,” said Ali Nikunesbati, an executive committee member of Tahkim Vahdat, at the demonstration. “Ahmadinejad, the true initiator of this second cultural revolution,” is not worthy of his office. Nikunesbati demands the immediate resignation of the minister of education.

“Don’t think that our patience is unlimited”

Armin Salmasi, member of the Council of Islamic Students, said, “They have sent our professors into early retirement, prevented many students from continuing their studies, forbidden not only protest, but even the act of breathing freely, and transformed our universities into military garrisons. Don’t think that our patience is unlimited. Someday, the pot will boil over,” he warned.

All this has provoked massive protest on the part of students. On December 6, Iran’s annual Students Day, thousands attended a protest demonstration on the campus of Tehran University organized by Tahkim Vahdat, the country’s largest student organization. Security forces at first tried to block entrances, but students eventually succeeded in breaking through the main gates.

“I would like to ask Revolutionary Leader Khamenei what was the justification for a student being killed in prison,” said Ali Nikunesbati, an executive committee member of Tahkim Vahdat, at the demonstration. “Ahmadinejad, the true initiator of this second cultural revolution,” is not worthy of his office. Nikunesbati demands the immediate resignation of the minister of education.

“Don’t think that our patience is unlimited”

Armin Salmasi, member of the Council of Islamic Students, said, “They have sent our professors into early retirement, prevented many students from continuing their studies, forbidden not only protest, but even the act of breathing freely, and transformed our universities into military garrisons. Don’t think that our patience is unlimited. Someday, the pot will boil over,” he warned.

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