12/15/2009, 00.00
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Iranian official says 70 per cent of university students against Ahmadinejad

A rising wave of student protest shows that government militias are losing control over university campuses. President supporters are unable to hold rallies or speak without being interrupted. Government official wants the authorities to confront firmly young people and professors.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – About 70 per cent of university students would vote against Ahmadinejad, this according to Mohammad Mohammadian, who is not a dissident but the head of the supreme leader’s Office of University Affairs.

The admission is further evidence of the growing dissatisfaction among young Iranians who led protests in recent days, a sequel to demonstrations that followed the controversial re-election of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on 12 June.

Rooz, a dissident Iranian webzine, the recent wave of protests that swept the country’s university campuses is a sign that the regime and its militias have lost control of students.

Even before last 7 December celebration of Student Day, Ahmadinejad supporters were unable to hold rallies on campuses. Their speeches were drowned out by other students shouting.

In order to put a stop to the unrest, Mohammad Mohammadian wants “firmer confrontation” against professors and students guilty of weakening the regime.

Speaking at the 62nd annual conference of university chiefs, he sounded the alarm bell. According to the existing data, “70 per cent of students would vote against Ahmadinejad,” he said.

Recent protests are thus but the tip of the iceberg of widespread dissatisfaction. Government officials have lost control on many campuses; universities in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan and Hamedan, just to name a few, have been hit by the “green tsunami”, the protest movement that is close to the opposition. The deployment of Basiji militiamen and Revolutionary Guards has been of little consequence so far.

For Mohammad Mohammadian, university professors are the culprits; they are the ones responsible for weakening the regime and must be firmly confronted.

However, as a sign of the tense times, professors at Tehran University’s technical campus demanded an immediate halt to the security forces’ presence in universities.

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