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Student Protests Against Ahmadinejad Continue In Tehran

By Golnaz Esfandiari

Hundreds of students have staged an antigovernment demonstration at Tehran's Sharif University, the second such protest in two days.

Many students were chanting “Death to the Dictator” and “Political Prisoners Must Be Released," in reference to the more than 100 people still jailed in Iran following postelection street protests in June.

The students said the protests will continue as long as the government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is in power.

A student who participated in the protest told RFE/RL that the protests were also directed against Science and Education Minister Kamran Daneshjou, who was at the university to inaugurate the new library and launch the new academic year.

The student said classmates brandished copies of "Nature" magazine, the publication that recently highlighted apparent plagiarism in an article coauthored by Daneshjou. Chants rang out of "Daneshjou the Liar, where are your articles?"

The opposition claims the June 12 vote was rigged to secure a decisive victory for Ahmadinejad, the incumbent. The authorities deny that fraud could have significantly affected the results.

Students also chanted slogans in support of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri and Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, who have both condemned the postelection crackdown, as well as opposition leaders Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi.

The student who spoke to RFE/RL said that the student chants in support of Ayatollah Montazeri are unprecendented. The student, who did not want to be named for fear of arrest, said he expects more anti-Ahmadinejad protests. He noted that there was no violence at the demonstration and that he saw no arrests.

The protest at Sharif University followed a similar protest on September 28 at Tehran University during which some 1,000 students called for the resignation of Ahmadinejad's government .

Students wearing green T-shirts and carrying green balloons chanted “Coup Government, Resign, Resign” and “Death to the Dictator."

Several Iranian news websites reported that at least two students were detained by security forces.

Ahmadinejad did not attend a ceremony on the same day to mark the start of the academic year at Tehran University, an event traditionally attended by the president.

A student leader, Mehdi Arabashahi, told RFE/RL last week that he expects renewed protests against Ahmadinejad’s government now that the new academic year has begun.

Iran’s authorities have increased pressure on students who participated in the postelection demonstrations and on those who campaigned for Karrubi and Musavi, Ahamdinejad’s reformist rivals.

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