Iran: At least 150 university student activists banned from education
The state-run Jame’eh Farda (Tomorrow’s Community) newspaper reported that at least 150 postgraduate students at Masters and Ph.D. levels were starred (term used by the Iranian regime to bar protesting students from continuing their postgraduate studies) in October this year, saying that they received a message of “defects in their case” and were deprived of access to the universities to continue their education.
The newspaper wrote in an issue on Thursday, November 30, quoting “an informed source” at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology: “In the new academic year, between 150 and 200 postgraduate students at Masters and Ph.D. levels will not be eligible to register and remain starred after completing the exam because of the defect in their case.”
In this regard, Mahmoud Sadeghi, a member of the regime’s parliament and a member of the parliament’s Education Commission, told the newspaper that there is no accurate statistics and exact numbers of starred students, adding: “At a meeting with the Minister of Science, Research and Technology, he confirmed that the number of starred students in the new academic year is more than 100 people.”
Starred students are referred to those students who are deprived of continuing their education or expelled due to their student activities or political views. The term starred student was used during the regime’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for student activists in different fields, and a star was placed against their names in the reports provided by the evaluation (examination) organization, leading to some deprivation and exclusions such as denial of education or expulsion.
Meanwhile, Hassan Rouhani in his propaganda campaign in the 2013 presidential election promised to remove the stars and open up the campus allowing these students to return to the universities. However, Amnesty International wrote in a report about the “dire situation” in universities years after Rouhani’s election.
Amnesty International said: “Hundreds of students are deprived of their education, many of whom are still in prison.” According to Amnesty International, after the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, a number of new students have also been arrested.
According to the newspaper, the promise by Hassan Rouhani’s government to stop depriving students of education was not fulfilled and still on the ground. It seems that Rouhani’s government not only has not allowed these starred students to return to the universities, but also his government deprived many new students of education despite their academic and scientific qualification.
The state-owned newspaper added: “Some of the student activists who followed the story of starred students said that some of these students signed an agreement with their registration and their problem solved. We asked Mahmoud Sadeghi (the MP) in this regard, and he replied: I do not know the provisions of this agreement, and I cannot comment on the contents of this article, but legally and in accordance with the law, if this agreement (pledge) violates the freedoms and civil rights of individuals, including membership in student associations, is not legal, even if this pledge is signed by one’s own consent, it has no legal value, since it is prohibited by law to deny the individuals their rights.”