September 29, 2009

Students at Tehran’s Sharif University Protest Science Minister’s Visit

Today at Tehran’s Sharif University, students protested the visit of Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou, (whom we’ve reported on extensively, and who was appointed with the new Ahmadinejad cabinet). (see video in earlier post). It is the second demonstration at a major university in two days, showing the persistence and resolve of the green movement in the face of government intimidation.  Student Advarnews is cited as a source for reports of the protests in the New York times.  Previous demonstrations include one on Sunday against Parliament member Gholam Ali Hadad Adel’s speech and another on Monday which forced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to cancel a scheduled appearance.
Radio Liberty reports chants of “Death to the Dictator” and “Political Prisoners Must Be Released” heard among the hundreds at the anti-government demonstration.
Students also expressed support for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, and opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi who have spoken out against the government’s postelection clampdown on Iranian civil society protest.
The New York Times reports:

“Student leaders do not have a formal presence,” said Ali Afshari, a former student leader who is currently in Washington and is still in touch with students in Iran. “They have all been summoned and threatened. But the frustration is very widespread and the government can only shut down the universities if it wants to stop the protests.”
The protest movement, which has produced some of the nation’s worst unrest in 30 years, emerged as a response to a widespread belief that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had falsified election results in his favor. Universities have often been the site of protests, partly because of a student pro-democracy network, the Office for Consolidating Unity, and a law that bans police officers from entering the campus.
The Office for Consolidating Unity, which once had offices on nearly every campus but has been decimated by government pressure since Mr. Ahmadinejad took power in 2004, issued a statement on Tuesday saying the protest movement was a result of years of frustration with the government and that the students would remain part of it. The statement urged students to refrain from violence and pursue their demands in a “peaceful and civil” manner.

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