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Students Call For End To 'Authoritarian' Restrictions At Iranian Universities

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda June 10, 2022

Dozens of students have issued a joint statement calling on authorities to end "authoritarian" restrictions at Iranian universities, including tighter rules around the wearing of hijabs by female students.

In the statement, issued on June 10, the students criticized "the violent actions of university security officials" and called on other students and university professors "to protest against the authoritarian attack on the campus."

The statement referred to "physical clashes, beatings, and the hostage-taking of students" by university security officials, accusing them of "violating the freedom and independence of the university."

The statement also cited restrictions on dormitories, gender segregation, the expulsion and intimidation of students and professors, bans on free political activities, and the daily summoning of students to disciplinary committees and off-campus security institutions as part of the pressure campaign against students.

The new wave of restrictions and pressure on students in Iran related to clothing, gender segregation, and political activities began in recent months as universities reopened their campuses after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The students pointed to several incidents since returning to classes, including on May 6 when some who tried to use the University of Tehran's sports facilities were beaten because of issues surrounding "the hijab of female students and the need for gender segregation." That incident came after a member of the Amirkabir University Student Association was beaten by university guards on April 20.

The statement also referred to the exclusion of women from society through gender segregation and the implementation of policies that "have limited the progress of half of the student population."

In response to the protests, Iranian Minister of Science Mohammad Ali Zolfigol said recently that the university was "sacred" and that anyone entering it should "follow its rules and regulations."

According to a dress code imposed following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, women must cover their hair and body in public.

Many women have resisted the hijab rule and pushed the boundaries by exposing their hair from underneath their headscarves and wearing short coats. The dress code is enforced more strictly at government buildings and higher education institutions. But before the new measures, the atmosphere at universities had reportedly become more relaxed in recent years.

Writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-students-authoritarian- restrictions-statement/31892795.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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