Is the government cracking down on Iranian student activism? (AFP)
PRAGUE, October 19, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The New York-based nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called upon Iranian authorities to immediately revoke bans on students whose political beliefs they dislike from attending university.
HRW says in a briefing paper that the government barred 12 students from university registration this year despite the fact they had successfully passed entrance examinations.
It also says it has documented the case of another 54 students who were allowed to register only after agreeing in writing to refrain from peaceful political activities.
HRW describes this policy as "a blatant attack on freedom of expression and the rights to education."
Noting that the Iranian judiciary has sentenced 24 politically active students to prison terms since July 2005, HRW says the decision to deny applicants university registration is "solely based on [their] political background, not on any educational standards."