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Starred Students Say 'We Exist'


Some of the "starred students" protest in front of the Iranian state broadcaster's offices on June 7.

Some of the "starred students" protest in front of the Iranian state broadcaster's offices on June 7.

During the recent televised debates, Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of "starred students" under his administration.

It's a reference to students who've been banned from classes because of their reported political activism, demands for freedom and human rights, or criticism of Ahmadinejad. Dozens of Iranian students in the past four years have been banned from classes, summoned to disciplinary committees or to courts, or charged with security crimes and jailed.

A rights group, the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, reports that some such students have reacted to Ahmadinejad's denial by turning up at public squares in Tehran, holding banners that read, "Mr. Ahmadinejad, I am a starred student," or,"Jailed students are deprived of their right to study," and talking publicly about their situation.

Here are some photos.

And here is a video clip of several students who have been banned from classes and who are supporting reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi. They say Iran needs a change and express hope that no students will be barred from studying because of what he or she says

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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