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Iranian Lawmakers Propose Punishments For Protesting Students

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda November 22, 2022

Iranian lawmakers have proposed banning student protesters from traveling abroad for 10 years as the Islamic republic struggles to suppress the biggest show of dissent in years.

The Fars news agency, which is affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that in addition to members of parliament some "experts" played a role in the preparation of this plan. No explanation was given about the "experts," but some observers say they appear to be agents of the intelligence and security institutions.

This plan was presented days after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke about the "immodesty" of the demonstrators.

During recent protests, some students, including those at the prestigious Sharif University in Tehran, attacked Khamenei with strongly negative slogans.

The proposal comes after 227 lawmakers from Iran's 290-seat, hard-liner-led parliament urged the judiciary to approve the death sentence for some protesters arrested amid a wave of demonstrations across the country sparked by the death of a young woman in September while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.

Radical political activist and former lawmaker Hamid Rasaei, referring to the students' desire to continue their studies abroad, suggested on Twitter a ban on student protesters leaving the country in order to calm the protests in the university.

The International Monetary Fund says more than 150,000 educated Iranians leave the country each year in hopes of finding a better life abroad.

Earlier this month, students at Sharif University staged a demonstration, singing one of the protest anthems that refers to the high number of students who leave Iran, asking them "to stay and take the country back."

Lawmakers have also proposed a fine under which protesting students would be required to pay their entire tuition. According to the Iranian Constitution, education in public universities is free.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women's rights in the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

Several thousand people have been arrested, including many protesters, journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others. At least 378 people, including 47 minors, have been killed by government forces across the country, according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-parliament-punish- student-protesters/32143953.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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