Hossein Shariatmadari

Students at Tehran’s Abbaspour University protested a recent speech by Hossein Shariatmadari, the director of the state newspaper Keyhan.

Iranian media report that Shariatmadari was invited last Sunday by the university’s Basij students to speak about National Students’ Day.

In a short speech, Shariatmadari referred to the post-election protests of 2009 as sedition, claiming “seditious elements were trying to create a pro-American movement.”

The 2009 presidential elections were heavily marred by allegations of vote fraud, which sparked widespread protests across the country supported by the student movement in universities.

The head of the Keyhan newspaper is reportedly appointed directly by the Supreme Leader, and during the post-election crisis, the state newspaper actively condemned the protesters and attributed their actions to U.S. and Israeli conspiracies.

During the Q & A session that followed Shariatmadari’s speech last Sunday, a group of students protested his presence at the university, carrying pictures of prominent political prisoners such as jailed student activists Ahmad Zeidabadi and Mohammad Tavakoli, jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and prominent political activist Mostafa Tajzadeh. The group also chanted slogans accusing Keyhan of being a “fascistic media outlet.”

Shairatmadari challenged the protesters, saying that “thousands of American and Israeli publications write in their support.”

Reports indicate that the Basij student organizers denounced the protests against Shariatmadari and urged the university to deal with “the insulting actions of the students.”