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Tehran Students Protest University 'Garrison'

Iranian student activist Puyan Mahmudian
Iranian student activist Puyan Mahmudian
Tehran University students are protesting the extensive presence of security forces on their campus, saying such measures are turning the university into a garrison, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The students are angry at what they say is a recent increase in the number of security forces and surveillance cameras at the university's Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as the "insulting attitude" of university security officials who have threatened female students over the way they dress.

"We will not tolerate such offensive, humiliating attitudes and will not keep silent before those who turn universities into garrisons," the students said in a statement published on the Daneshjoo News website on April 16.

The protest came on the same day that segregated buses for male and female students were introduced on the Tehran University campus. According to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, gender segregation on buses was implemented in response to "repeated requests by students."

Pouyan Mahmoudian, a former member of the Islamic Association central council at Tehran's Amir Kabir University, rejected that claim, saying gender segregation is proof of social suppression in Iran.

"The Iranian regime is facing a legitimacy crisis," Mahmoudian told Radio Farda on April 17. He said the establishment wants to impose an ideological system on society which is based on a particular interpretation of Shari'a, but young people will never accept it.

"The authorities have tried gradually to adopt such policies by force during the past 10 years, but it has always backfired," said Mahmoudian.