Tehran Uni Students do not buy Rouhani’s showy speech on campus

By The Free Iranian Staff
Rouhani, a number of the regime brass and Tehran University superintendents at the auditorium which is half empty.

Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Regime appeared at Tehran University today. He spoke at the official opening ceremony of the academic year at universities and research centers

Student union activists staged a protest at Tehran University at the same time.

Student union activists

The protest was announced just before Rouhani’s arrival, via social media, in order to protect student protesters appearing at the rally from the gathering of security forces on campus. 

The below tweet reads: Tehran University students and Student Union activists begin to gather to protest Rouhani, the president’s ‘show’ appearance at Tehran University.

Students protested by holding placards, condemning the 5-year prison sentence imposed a number of students who had protested that the regime had turned the university into garrison filled with guards and security forces. The protesters demanded the immediate and unconditional release of their fellow students. Among many other points of contention, the increasing privatization of universities was highlighted.

In the video in the below tweet, students chant: “Classes are empty, because the students is imprisoned.”

Rouhani, whose many presidential election campaign pledges included the elimination of the “security environment” at the universities and abolishing student privation from higher education, did not even touch on those topics, nor did he mention the imprisonment of the students.

The Basij Students Organization, an offshoot of the regime’s own IRGC affiliated on-campus groups were also present and even they spoke out against the way the event was handled. 

Rouhani’s speech was nothing short of an attempt at mollifying student protesters. He claimed that the role of universities in the parliamentary elections made for a warm and impassioned atmosphere and said: “We have no other track but that of the glorious atmosphere of the election, even if there are problems and issues.”

He claimed that the “solution to disputes and breaking down extremes” is the ballot box, and citing internal disagreement over Iran’s key issues, he said: “If we did not succeed in strategic matters, we must ask the people.”

Regarding existing dualities on how to interact with the world where “strategic and contentious issues” were concerned, he opined: “In 41 years, we have not yet found the answer to this question. We cannot fight each other; we have been fighting for 40 years. We have to choose the path.” He passed off all the current differences in Iran over the issue of “engagement with the world.”

Referring to the issue of economic independence and regime’s problems in the face of sanctions, he added: “Can the economy run without interacting with the world? Growth without development without interacting with the world, with banks locked, imports and exports become constricted. Now, as we run the country, we have to thank some of our neighbors and friends around the world who disregard US sanctions.”

He again described the economic situation of the market, the stock market index and the inflation rate in Iran as “better” than last year. This is while the International Monetary Fund, in its latest report, predicted that with the impact of the US sanctions on Iran, the economy will see a negative growth of 9.5% this year. The fund had previously predicted a negative six percent growth for the Iranian economy.

Saha Mortezaie, student barred from continuing her education continues her sit in.

Starred student Saha Mortezaie, who was the secretary Tehran University’s Central Student Council, who began a sit-in in protest against her being barred from continuing her education, continues.

Starring students has been in practice in universities around Iran for approximately 16 years. It is a mechanism for discrimination against and exclusion of students from higher education, based solely on their political beliefs and activities, as well as the freedom of expression, and in the case of certain religions, such as Baha’is, the observance of their religion. Starred students are given ‘stars’ in order to be flagged and therefore barred from admissions, receiving their grades and degrees and much more. The Khomeinist regime systematically violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which protects freedoms of opinion, expression association and assembly. The regime is also in violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) by barring or expelling students on basis of their beliefs, expression of views critical of the government, membership in students organization and participation in public forums and peaceful protests.

Saha was arrested in January 2017 and sentenced to six years in prison for pursuing information on the status of detained students . She was also denied the right to continue her education. 

Saha Mortezaie
Saha Mortezaie, starred student who is being barred from continuing her university studies and receiving her degree.

She is holding a sign that reads: I have been starred and the regime’s university superintendent and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security has framed me. The response of the university authorities has been to protect the regime’s university superintendent, by compromising my academic acceptance. Yours truly, Saha Mortezaie, who has been starred simply for being active in the student union, demand to be allowed to return to my studies. 

Saha has announced that until she does not receive her PhD, she will continue to protest. 

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