Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Iran professors risk jail to stand up for students

The New York Times reports:
Risking expulsion and possible arrest, 88 professors at Tehran University signed a letter on Monday calling on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme religious leader, to end the use of violence against protesters, saying it was a sign of the government’s weakness.

“Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength,” the letter read in part. “Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment.”
Additional translation of the letter is provided by In The News (UK):
"It is still very difficult for us to accept that a group with several tools and weapons and with previous coordination can attack the university and for two subsequent days beat and hit students - the pure sons and daughters of this land -, destroy public properties, insult the university professors and disrespect the center of country's engineering."

The full text of the letter in Farsi is published at AUT News here.
Rick Moran at American Thinker thinks the Iranian mullacracy may be heading for a fall:

We had heard rumors of this activity by the Basij who it was said routinely broke into student dorms and randomly beat students and hauled others away. This letter from the professors confirms the rumor and demonstrates an out of control security apparatus.

Such actions are not tamping down the protests but rather igniting them. My guess is the next big catalyst for demonstrations may very well topple Khamenei and his crew.
Apparently undaunted by the prestigious dissent, Iran announced today that it is has banned cooperation and contact with 60 "seditious" western groups that it accuses of inciting unrest in Iran:
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has issued a list of 60 U.S. and international organizations that it accuses of inciting this summer’s postelection unrest and being involved in a “soft war” against the Islamic Republic.

The list, carried by Iranian state media on January 4, includes a number of human rights organizations and research and academic institutes, including the Open Society Institute of U.S. philanthropist George Soros, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, and Yale University.

A number of Farsi-language media, including RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, the BBC, VOA, and Radio Zamaneh, which is based in the Netherlands, were also singled out by the Intelligence Ministry.

The unprecedented move appears to be part of the Iranian authorities' efforts to isolate critics and activists inside Iran and prevent them from having any contact with the outside world.

Activists and opposition supporters say Iranian authorities have been intensifying efforts to limit the free flow of information in and out of Iran in the wake of mass protests against June's disputed presidential election.
Could this be the "next big catalyst" of which Rick Moran spoke?

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