05/24/2010, 00.00
IRAN
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Tehran cracks down with violence and arrests on student demonstrations

With the consent of university authorities, security forces and Basij paramilitaries police Iran’s main campuses. Last Saturday, Azad University was the scene of protests during which students were arrested. Mobile phones were blocked. University dean and hard-line cleric call for rigid enforcement of the Islamic dress code.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran’s Islamic regime continues to crack down on the student movement. It has deployed paramilitary forces around university campuses as security forces and Basij militiamen (which are under to the Revolutionary Guards) attack and arrest students close to the opposition. The head of Tehran University security announced that students who do not wear a proper “hijab” would be denied access to the campus, a measure welcomed by hard-line Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, who said that universities should link good marks to close adherence to the precepts of the Islamic Republic.

Last Saturday, a protest by Azad University Central Tehran Branch students turned violent after altercations with Basij and security forces. Engineering students had gathered to protest against widespread arrests and expulsion of students from the campus.

As the day progressed and classes came to an end, students assembled, shouting Green Wave slogans like “Death to Dictator”, “We Support our brave students” and “All imprisoned students must be released”.

It is unclear how many people were arrested or injured in the crackdown because access to mobile phones was cut off. But this is not the first instance that a protest turns violent at Azad University.

Increasingly, students are reporting the presence of plainclothes paramilitary and police, monitoring departments with the consent of the dean.

In the last few days, protests and demonstrations spread to other campuses across the country. In a couple of cases, the protest occurred during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—in both cases, it was dealt with harshly, with protesters beaten and arbitrarily arrested.

In recent days, two top officials have publicly called for rigid application of the Islamic dress code on university campuses.

The dean of Tehran University announced a ban on female students who do not wear the hijab correctly.

Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, a hard-line cleric, welcomed the decision. During last Friday’s prayer, he said, “If students want to get a good mark, they must adhere to the rules of hijab.”

Janati, who is a staunch Ahmadinejad supporter, also called for strict adherence to hijab rules in government institutions as well as hospitals and other centres.

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