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Science Minister Says Antiestablishment Professors Will Be Fired

Kamran Daneshjou

Kamran Daneshjou

Iran's Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou has said that academics who are not on the same side as the Iranian establishment will be dismissed from universities. Danesjou added that Iran's universities need professors who are practically bound to the principle of "velayat faghih" (the rule of the supreme jurist) and to Islam. He said universities have no right to hire professors who don't believe in velayat faghih.

Since the rise to power of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2005, reports suggest a number of liberal and reformist university professors have been forced to retire or been dismissed. Critical students and student activists have also come under pressure, with many summoned to disciplinary committees and some banned from classes.

Pressure on critical professors and students has increased following last year's disputed presidential vote. A number of them have been jailed and put on trial over the postelection unrest.

Only three days after the June vote, security forces stormed Tehran's university dorms and attacked students. At least five students were reported to have died in the June 15 violence and many were injured. Last month, a video apparently from the attack emerged and was posted on YouTube:

Last month, 116 professors at Tarbiat Modaress university sent a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which they expressed their serious concern over the harsh treatment of university professors and students.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi said in his latest interview that the letter shows that the Green Movement is widespread in universities.

Daneshjou's comments demonstrate that officials are determined to tighten their grip on universities that have been the center of protests and rid itself of critics.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.