Tehran, 10 December 2001 (RFE/RL) -- President Mohammad Khatami has warned of a social explosion in Iran if hard-liners in the government continue to stifle student dissent. The official Islamic Republic News Agency reports today that Khatami gave the warning yesterday during a meeting of university officials and student groups in Tehran.
Khatami said that in a healthy society, opposition is recognized "officially, legally, and safely." He said students have been made indifferent in Iran because of fear and disappointment.
More than two dozen students remain behind bars since their arrest in July 1999 after a peaceful protest against the closure of a leading reformist newspaper, which was crushed by police and hard-line vigilantes.