Monday, October 22, 2007


Please note that I am not writing an article condemning Iran's repressive government because I want to support a US invasion. That's all we need. I'm writing the article because I think it is the duty of the left to stand up to the dictatorial, backward, clerical government of the Islamic Republic of Iran because it violates ideals we hold dear. I'm also posting the article because it is the duty of leftist to support students around the world bravely standing up to such governments.

I'd love to see a progressive revolution in the Islamic Republic, something that would threaten Bushies as much as it would reactionary Islamic Fundamentalists who insist on taking their people back to the middle ages.

So on to today's story.

Ehsan Mansouri, Ahmad Ghassaban and Majid Tavakkoli, Three students of the Amir Kabir University were sentenced to 2, 2.5 and 3 years of prison a few days ago. Officials arrested the students in May along with five other students on charges of endangering national security and insulting Islam. They were accused specifically of distributing newsletters with anti-Islamic images. The three students maintain that the newsletter that contained the "insults" was made by more conservative people to frame the reform group to which they belonged.

Holy moley. What a crime, even if they committed it. This nonsense has got to stop.

Anyway, today students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University took to the streets to protest their jailing. They say their classmates are the latest victims of a government crackdown on dissent on university campuses.

The jailed students all attended Amir Kabir University and are leaders of Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat (the Office for the Consolidation of Unity) described by Human Rights Watch as the largest-known Iranian student reform group.

They protest today also concerned the arrest of leading human rights activists Emad Baqi and pro-reform cleric Hadi Ghabel.

Baqi, author of the book "Tragedy of Democracy in Iran, is no newcomer to being locked up by the regime."

Ghabel had been arrested at his home on 12 September, by the security forces of the special Clergy Courts in Quom. He is a regular critic of the reactionary regime and a member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

Back on October 8, dozens of students at Amir Kabir University the chanted anti-Ahmadinejad slogans and scuffled with presidential supporters on the campus of Tehran University while Ahmadinejad spoke at the school.

The blog Memri reports about another recent student demonstration. This one took place yesterday at Buali Sina University. Students there protested against the death in prison of student Zahra Bani 'Aamari, who had been arrested for Islamic dress code violations. Students at Buali Sina reported that Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces had attacked a number of students in the university dormitories over the weekend, to hush up the affair.

The following is from AFP.

Iran students protest over jail sentences

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian students on Monday staged a protest against the jailing of three colleagues, shouting slogans against officials and proclaiming the prisoners' innocence, Iranian news agencies reported.

Three students from Tehran's Amir Kabir University -- Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban -- were last week given jail sentences of up to three years on charges of anti-Islamic images in four student newspapers.

The protest was held at Amir Kabir University by its Islamic Association of Students, joined by protesters from Tehran, Sanati Sharif and Alameh Tabatabai universities, the student ISNA and semi-official Mehr news agencies reported.

Pictures published by ISNA showed that crowds of a few hundred students had turned out, despite apparent official efforts to prevent the demonstration taking place.

"Down with the dictator" and "political students must be freed" were among the slogans chanted in the protest, the association's website said.

"The university's director had yesterday (Monday) banned the association's members and some other political activists from entering the campus and also asked for a police presence in order to stop this event," the website said.

ISNA said that the protesters walked around in the campus while chanting slogans and also held short speeches in front of the central university hall.

"We have come together here today to prove to the management of the university that our friends are innocent and we are ready to defend them," one Amir Kabir students, Sedigheh Bigdeli, was quoted as saying.

"The insulting publications were falsified under the logo of the Islamic Association in order to prevent the elections of the association," she said.

Photos taken by mobile phones at the scene showed students holding pictures of the jailed students and banners held by protesters had slogans against some of the country's officials, the ISNA report said.

ISNA had blurred the faces of the students at the gathering in their pictures for their security.

The gathering started at 0730 GMT and came to an end after nearly three hours, the reports said. The students who tried to leave the campus were blocked by police.

In August, Mansouri's mother publicly accused the authorities of torturing the young men at Tehran's infamous Evin prison in an effort to obtain confessions. The judiciary insists that torture is not used in Iran.

The demonstration was held two weeks after students held a noisy protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he gave a speech at Tehran University, likening him to the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Ahmadinejad had been famously heckled during a speech last year to students at Amir Kabir, one of the most prestigious institutions in Iran which has long been a hotbed of political activity.

In 1999, Tehran was the scene of bloody student riots sparked when Islamist vigilantes raided university dormitories.

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