Iran’s Council for the Defence of Education Rights says Iranian security forces have threatened expelled university students to keep them from protesting against their own expulsion.
In an announcement issued today, the council writes that the so-called “starred students” [students branded as those to be denied higher education], have been summoned to police and security forces offices in advance of the release of results of the graduate student placement entrance exam. They have reportedly been threatened and intimidated to prevent them from protesting.
In the past six years, during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, scores of political and social activists have been banned from continuing their university studies.
The Council for the Defence of Education Rights maintains that this trend is in violation of both domestic and international laws and has called for the perpetrators of this “criminal act” to be prosecuted.
The council says “starred students” have had their report cards altered, or have been given failing grades in subjects where their performance put them at the top of the class.
“The constitution of the Islamic Republic regards the right to education as one of the primary and natural rights of all strata of the Iranian nation and has charged the government with providing for this right,” the Council writes. The statement adds that Iran is also bound by its international commitments to ensure all Iranians have access to a higher education free of all forms of discrimination.
The council calls on the government to stop banning students and denying activists their right to continue their education. The rights group also urges the government to release students who were arrested for standing up for their right to education.
In the crackdown on protests that arose against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed election victory in 2009, several so-called “starred” students such as Zia Nabavi, Majid Dori, Majid Tavakoli and Shiva Nazar-Ahari were arrested, and some have been handed severe prison terms.
Most recently the on-line Bahai University, which provided higher education to Baha’i students banned from pursuing higher education due to religious discrimination, was shut down and several of its professors and administrators were arrested.