On Tuesday 24th hundreds of Iranian students at the Polytechnic University (Amirkabir) rallied for the second day in a row in protest at the burial on the campus of the remains of five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) left from the 1980-88 war with Iraq. At the demonstration students chanted anti-government slogans as they were attacked by the plain-clothes agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and members of the paramilitary Bassij students group dispatched from other Tehran school to help quell the protests, with slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “We don’t want a fascist regime”.
Twenty-five students were arrested and transferred in police vans to unknown locations despite attempts by their classmates to get them released. This followed ten arrests of student activists in the last two weeks at the orders of the regime’s Ministry of Information. Four of the ten students, all of whom have been denied contact with lawyers or their families, are rumoured to be subject to psychological and physical torture. As this website reports in grim detail, these arrests are just the tip of the iceberg: already in 2009 many dozens of people have been hanged, stoned, lashed or jailed for standing up for the rights of workers, students and national minorities.
But at the same time as repression there are signs of hope, for example the powerful independent workers’ union which arose from last year’s 5000-strong strike at Haft Tapeh sugar and whose leading members are today being persecuted by the regime’s courts. For more information on how we can build solidarity with such movements, see the Hands Off the People of Iran site at www.hopoi.org.