Monday, January 4, 2010

Brave Teheran Professors Sign Petition

Eighty eight professors at Tehran University have signed a petition condemning the government's violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. Additionally, there have been student actions such as exam boycotts and hunger strikes.Breitbart News reports as follows on the letter signed by the Tehran professors.

"Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength. ... Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment," the letter read.

The letter referred to attacks by pro-government paramilitary Basij forces on pro-opposition students inside Tehran University campus last month.

"Unfortunately, all these (attacks) were carried out under the pretext of protecting Islam" and the position of the supreme leader, the letter said.

Tehran University is the country's largest, with 1,480 professors and teachers, according to its Web site.

There have already been reports of professors being fired and of academic retaliation against students who go public with their opposition to the regime. It is a courageous step indeed for the Tehran professors to sign such a letter. In doing so, they expose themselves to the risk of retaliation in the form of loss of employment, arrest and violence. The Basij, which is the regime's militia has in the past stormed dormitories and conducted violent attacks on behalf of the regime. Any protection of civil liberties is subject to interpretation and curtailment by the mullahs who rule Iran and have total veto power over the laws passed by the elected representatives. Students who make their opposition a matter of public likewise run risk of retaliation in the form of expulsion from university, loss of financial aid and violence.

Other cities in Iran have reported similar protests to those in Teheran. Any thought that the Ahmadinejad regime had of post election protests fading out has proven to be wishful thinking. General prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi has been quoted as saying that some of those arrested in the post election protests could end up facing the death penalty. This itself underscores the loss of control by the Ahmadinejad regime and the determination of the regime's opponents to topple it.

It should be borne in mind that Ahmadinejad's saber rattling and race towards developing a nuclear bomb might be an attempt to rally Iranians to his cause by raising the spectre of an external enemy. It is clear at this time that this strategy is failing. Iran may well become an atomic power. But it is far from certain that Ahmadinejad will be around to celebrate such a milestone.
Iran's harsh crackdown resembles nothing so much as a substitute teacher who has lost control. As the regime lashes out in furious desperation, it becomes clearer by the day that today's 'substitute teacher' may well stay home from school tomorrow. Sphere: Related Content

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