Thursday, December 10, 2009

Iran Unrest Persists in Universities

Translation of a report from the website, Rooz. See the original here. (right photo: Majid Tavakoli)

Unrest Persists in Universities
In reaction to the arrests and fabrications against Tavakoli
By Saamnaak Agha'ie (Rooz Online; Dec. 10, 2009)

In the aftermath of the arrest of Majid Tavakoli, member of Islamic Association, in Polytechnique University (Amir Kabir), and the reports by government owned media regarding his arrest 'while dressed as a woman', the universities still have a tense atmosphere and the protests against the government continue.

According to received reports, in addition to protests in Tehran's universities, yesterday also saw student gatherings in state and private universities in Mashhad, Qhazvin, Karaj, Esfahan and Shiraz. Yesterday's university student protests in several different cities followed the lie mongering by the government, and publication on websites connected to the security-intelligence forces of photos related to Majid Tavakoli, a well known student activist. Yesterday's continued [nationwide] student protests were also held in undivided solidarity with that student activist.

In this relation, the Islamic Association of the Polytechnique University, in a statement, emphasized: "Not only Majid Tavakoli, but all students in the dungeons of tyranny, are the pride of the student movement, whether they be dressed in women's clothing or men's."

Majid Tavakoli and a Speech
Majid Tavakoli, who was arrested in the assault by the security forces and the basijis on the Student Day ceremonies in Polytechnique University, is among well known student activists that in recent years has also been imprisoned [...] and has [already] suffered through a fifteen-month sentence under torture. On this year's Student Day/16 Azar, he attended the ceremonies at Polytechnique along with hundreds of other protesting students, and gave a speech for some minutes. In his speech, which was met with great enthusiasm among students, this student activist, pointing to the recent events after the elections, and pointing to the crackdown and all the spilled blood and the rapes in prisons, he emphasized the importance of students' resistance and struggle alongside the people and against the ruling despotism.

[Majid Tavakoli], in another part of his speech reminded that the Student Day is the day of shouting at tyranny, and, addressing the students, said: "In honoring and respecting a people who have risen with peaceful protests against oppression and the blood-letting, and who have today come to our support, it is our duty to be present at the gates of the university and to thank the people present in front of the university, and to strengthen our unity with the people."

Defending Imprisoned Students
Student sources believe that Tavakoli's arrest and the [lie mongering] campaign by websites supporting the coup regime was mainly due to his spirited and moving speech at the students' gathering. Yesterday, after Majid Tavakoli's arrest, [state owned] Fars News Agency initially published a photo of Tavakoli, claiming that he was arrested while dressed as a woman and trying to escape from the university.

In response to the fabrications against an arrested fellow affiliate, the Islamic Association of the Polytechnique University, in a harsh statement said: "Those who cannot stand the freedom seeking surge of the Amir Kabir students, much like in the past, scheme to destroy the dignities of free people. But, they should know that freedom belongs to those people who put themselves in danger for freedom. And in truth, Majid Tavakoli ... is such a free soul, who is always in the hearts of, and subject of talk among, the Amir Kabir University students. Iranian dictatorship must be very angry with Majid Tavakoli's words and criticisms regarding the current dictatorship in the country, since they find themselves being like the king whose nakedness has been revealed by the students. And now, hapless and helpless in understanding the students' clear slogans, they show their revenge and hatred by persecuting Majid Tavakoli. The widespread and glorious resistance of the students across the country has gotten the inept despots so confused that they could not find anything else to do other than to put some fake clothes on Tavakoli and publish the pictures. Little do they know that Majid Tavakoli has been, is and will be the pride of the students' movement, be he dressed in women's clothing or men's."

Widespread Arrests in Mashhad University
Yesterday's student protests in universities in several cities in the country were accompanied with widespread arrests. The gathering at the Ferdowsi University in Mashhad [in the northeast], protesting against the continued arrests of students on December 7th/Student Day, was for the second time faced with an assault by the security forces and the Basijis, resulting in physical beatings by security forces and arrests of at least 70 students in that university.

One of the students, in an interview with Rooz (, said: "This gathering was held with more than 2,000 university students attending, in front of the amphitheater's doors. Students were protesting, holding green flags and symbols, raising slogans like, "Ahoy, irreverent Karroubi, break the big statue-god" (Karroubi-e bot-shekan, bott-e bozorg-o beshkan!), and "Death to dictator!" when a group of some forty Basijis started attacking the students."

The student then continued: "When the Basijis faced resistance and the students fought back, and when the cultural deputy of the university's warnings were ineffective in ending the gathering, a large number of security forces entered the area of the gathering and along with the Basijis proceeded to assault and arrest the students."

In closing, the student pointed to the later release of some of the 70 arrested students, some hours later, and said: "But, in particular, the fate of some 13 -- who are among the more active students of the university -- remains unknown. A large number of students have announced in a statement that, in case the detained are not immediately released, they will continue to assemble and protest tomorrow as well."

Increase in the Number of Arrested Students
While the students in universities in Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, and may other cities in the country are determined to continue their protests in universities, news sources are reporting a rise in the numbers of arrested students in the last two days. The increase in the reports of arrested students takes place in a situation that, according to law enforcement officials, in Tehran alone more than 200 students were arrested on 16 Azar/Dec. 7. Until now, no reliable figures have been published regarding detained students in cities such as Tabriz, Hamedan, Ahvaz, Esfahan and Karaj.

In Shiraz, with the arrests of two more students, Sa'id Aganji and Razieh Ja'fari, the number of arrested students in the last two days now stands at 8. Amir Kabir Newsletter, writing about this, said: "On 16 Azar/Student Day, six students activists in Shiraz were arrested, with the following names: Seyed Mohammad Mohsen Moussavi, Sobhan Heydari, Najmaa Ranjbar, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, Sa'id Lotfi, and Masood Mahdavi-far. In all, since 13 Aban/Nov. 4, more than 30 dissident students have been arrested in Shiraz, about whose fates and conditions no news has been available until now."

In Tehran also, with the continuation of the protests and the arrests of the Student Day, news and human rights sources yesterday reported at least 8 more arrests in the last two days: Farzad Kalb'ali, Taher Dehkhar-Qharnian, Navid Soltanpoor, Mojtaba Hashemi, Niloofar Esbati, Bardia Najaar, Mehdi Belkhari and Meisam Hosseini.

Additionally, local sources in Kurdistan also published the names of 15 students arrested in Tehran and the provinces: Ahmad Esma'ili, Amanj Rahimi, Abdollah Arefi, Pakhshan Azizi, Leyla Mohammadi, Sarveh Veisi, Hazhar Yusefi, Amjad Kordnejad, Nasser Ahmadi, Abas Kaka'ie, Ali-Reza Moradi and Sajad Moradi, are among the students arrested in Tehran University. Also, Edris Moloody in Baaneh, and Sohrab Karami in Ghorveh were detained and sent to prison.

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