Iran's science minister has said universities that are against the values of the regime and its Basij militia should be razed to the ground, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
Kamran Daneshjou was quoted by Iranian media as saying on August 29 that universities should follow the path of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"If the supreme leader says something that is absolutely in disagreement with our views, we should obey him, no questions asked," he said.
Khamenei recently described Iran's universities as "the targets of enemies' conspiracies."
Former student leader Ali Afshari told RFE/RL it is astonishing and deplorable that a person who holds the position of science minister and considers himself an academic should utter such words.
No university has ever followed the views of the establishment in Iran, Afshari said. This is "against the essence of a university."
"A conspiracy by Iran's enemies against universities in Iran is just a myth which the establishment uses to justify its suppressive, restrictive measures against universities," Afshari said.
Daneshjou also said that documents which prove that the intelligence agencies of the enemies are plotting to lead university students astray will be made public in the near future.
An Iran-based Radio Farda website viewer commented, "As an Iranian, I was ashamed when I heard the Science Minister's words; what ignorant leaders rule my country!"
Daneshjou, who as the head of the Interior Ministry's election headquarters played a significant role in the disputed presidential vote last year, has dismissed some 20 university chancellors in the past three months.
Since President Mahmud Ahmadinejad took office, a large number of university professors in Iran have been dismissed or forced to resign.