Iran: Second Cultural Revolution Coming?

Universities in different parts of Iran are experiencing a new wave of repression by security forces. Between 6-8 student activists, members of student associations, and independent professors who dare to think and express their ideas differently than the Iranian establishment, have been arrested in recent weeks, or are awaiting court hearings and decisions from disciplinary committees – some for allegedly failing to respect strict Islamic dress code.

There have in fact been calls by some Basiji and conservative forces to begin a second Cultural Revolution to purge universities of secular and reformist thought. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Ayathollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, declared the need for a Cultural Revolution in all universities throughout the country. Universities were shutdown for two years and many students and professors were fired.

Several bloggers share their concerns and ideas about recent events.

Several jailed students in Amir Kabir

In the run up to the Islamic Student Association-Independent Student Association- annual elections at Amir Kabir University, several students were accused of publishing articles in university magazines that were insulting to the Islamic Republic. Jailed students say their magazine logos were falsified to destroy their free student associations.

Cityboy talks about the growing violence against students at Amir Kabir University. He writes:

when Arman Sadeghi and Ismail Salmanpour, both members of the Islamic Student Association activist body at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, tried to enter the university they were attacked by the university’s security guards.

There is a video film about this event:

The blogger writes:

some students at Amir Kabir University in Tehran went on a hunger strike to protest against the arrest of the seven student activists currently held in the notorious Evin Prison, and also against the increasing pressure on other active academics using harassments, banning and eviction of the active students from the university campus and dormitories and the recent beatings of active students.

Remember the first Cultural Revolution

Ahmad Shirzad, former reformist deputy in Parliament says [Fa] that people who encourage a second Cultural Revolution should think of what resulted from the first Cultural Revolution in early years of Islamic Revolution. Shirzad writes that many Iranian students and academics were fired and asked to follow strict rules, but after a few years the authorities turned back on their decisions when they realised the Cultural Revolution did not work.

Respect or Humilation?

Kadivar feels [Fa] universities are in deep trouble. She cites the arrests of students, a speech by the Iranian President, Ahmadinejad, urging confrontations with secular professors, the firing of some professors, suspicious deaths of three students, sending students to disciplinary committees, and violent security forces attacks on universities.

The blogger says the Iranian government imposes its power on institutions in civil society. Kadivar adds it is exactly the same way Iranian authorities act in foreign policy. She says in the long term this kind of policy will only create problems and more crises. Nothing more. The blogger concludes it is better for the government to respect students than to humiliate them.

No Political Discussion Please

Retorik says[Fa] that at his Modares University several academics and professors are under pressure or already suspended. He finds it really unbelievable that they cannot discuss politics during political sciences lessons at his university.

Sanjaghak says[Fa] students at her university are worried whether they will be called by the disciplinary committee tommorrow or not. “We are so miserable, to defend our rights we should organise meetings and expect to be beaten up,” she writes.

We need Cultural revolution

Contrary to previous bloggers, Mohammad Masih, a member of Muslim Bloggers Association says[Fa] a second Cultural Revolution is needed. The blogger says problems started when a reformist president came to power and the Cultural Revolution stopped. He complains that people who do not pay taxes or do anything for the security of Islamic Republic are in these universities, protesting against the Iranian State.

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