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Students, Legislators Protest Dissolution Of Iran's Medical University

Tehran's University of Medical Sciences and Health Services
Tehran's University of Medical Sciences and Health Services
Iranian students and parliament deputies are protesting a decision to dissolve one of the country's largest medical and educational centers, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi announced on October 30 that Tehran's Iranian University of Medical Sciences was to be dissolved.

Vahid-Dastjerdi said that her ruling was based on notification by the deputy chief of management and human resources development of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's office, according to which government offices are to be moved away from Tehran.

Students at the university, who according to Vahid-Dastjerdi are to be transferred to Tehran University and Shahid Beheshti University, began a protest sit-in on October 31 that continued until November 1, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency.

Eighteen Iranian legislators have written to Vahid-Dastjerdi asking her to reconsider her ruling.

Paris-based political analyst Seraj Mirdamadi says that the dissolution of the University of Medical Sciences is illegal.

As universities have become the center of vocal protests against the establishment, Mirdamadi says, the government is now trying to merge some universities with larger ones in order to tighten control over them.

Also, even though the stated rationale for closing the university is decentralization, he says no such policy is being implemented.

Mirdamadi questions the logic of closing the school at this time, six weeks after the beginning of the academic year. "Why wasn't the university closed at the end of the [last] academic year, if this was to be done?" he asks.

He also says there have been changes recently in the university management. "If a university is to be closed, its managers should not be changed."

All this points to chaos and confusion in the government decision-making process, Mirdamadi concludes.

The Iran University of Medical Sciences was founded in Tehran in 1974. It currently has more than 6,000 students and 731 faculty members.