Iran’s Ministry of Science issued a statement on the occasion of National Student Day, lauding the role of students in fighting against “old colonialism and its objective to make Iran forego its rights.”
Science Minister Kamran Daneshjoo said the student movement had been focused on fighting against Iran’s previous regime but today its foremost aim should be “fighting against the soft war.”
The Iranian establishment claims there is a “soft war” being waged against the Islamic Republic that aims to topple the regime by transforming its cultural, moral and Islamic outlook.
Since this year’s National Student Day coincides with the religious holiday Ashura, the government has given a heavily religious tone to the event, linking it to the recent changes designed to return schools and higher education to “Islamic principles” in order to fight the soft war.
Meanwhile, non-governmental student organizations, such as the Council for the Defence of Education Rights, issued a statement that many students are unable to celebrate this day because they are behind bars.
The council denounced the government policy of banning students from higher education and allegedly altering student reports and allowing the interference of security forces in national test results.
Banning students from continuing their education is one of the policies that Iranian authorities commonly use against student activists. Many are also banned if they are labelled as followers of the Baha’i faith which is outlawed by the Islamic Republic.
The council urges Iranian authorities to release all jailed students, end education bans and maintain the independence of education institutions from the government, politics and its institutions.
Several jailed students also issued messages of solidarity and resistance for National Student Day.