President Ebrahim Raisi delivered a traditional speech for Students’ Day at the University of Tehran on Wednesday.
Students reported on social media that university security forces and government security forces carefully vetted students before allowing them to participate in unusual speeches that were not broadcast live by state media. They claim members of the paramilitary Basij were brought in from other universities and elsewhere to fill event halls with supporters.
At the same time, students from 12 universities held protest rallies under pressure from security forces and Basij vigilantes.
Surrounded by bodyguards and security forces, Raishi also walked on campus To give the event a “sanity” message. In his speech, and in response to questions from a constantly cheering audience, Raisi praised his government’s “achievements”, promised economic improvements and accused protesters of “hostility to the country”. and argued that the opposition wanted a civil war. In Iran as in Syria.
Over the past three months, over 200 Tehran University students have been arrested and 20 are still detained. Some students were sentenced to prison terms, while others were placed on lists of disrespectful students or banned from attending classes or using dormitories. announced a new list of tuition-free students ahead of.
“I had to sign up and give a lot of information up front [to get the entrance permit], it seems that some people were rejected for unspecified reasons even after signing up in advance. ” the tweet said.
In another tweet, someone in the vetted audience said they protested against Raisi for not giving the ultra-hardline former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalil a high status. “As if what the protesting students wanted [a position for another regime loyalist]”, the tweet said.
Raisi’s speech on Wednesday was preceded by a tumultuous appearance at Tehran’s Sharif University on Tuesday. Including a female student who defiantly took off her hijabslammed the capital’s hardline mayor Alireza Zakhani for corruption, the Islamic Republic’s support for the Taliban, Lebanon’s support for Hezbollah and other controversial issues.
Sharif students booed the mayor when he staged protests on campus, blaming foreign countries for instigating protests in Iran. “Death to the Dictator” “Death to Khamenei” “Rascal”.
Raisi said he had been advised not to attend the Student Day event at the university, “at least the University of Tehran”.
The President’s Student Day speech at the University of Tehran, Iran’s oldest university, and how it is received by students, has considerable significance in the Iranian political scene.
In 1997, on the one-year anniversary of the 1997 presidential election, reformist President Mohammad Khatami addressed a group of highly committed students at the University of Tehran, accusing hardliners of using religion to restrict civil liberties. I warned you about being Opposing freedom, he said, would ultimately kill religion.
But in December 1999, he struggled with angry students whose campus was attacked and looted by security forces and vigilantes loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who arrested and killed several students in July of the same year. did.
In a message for Student’s Day on Monday, a retired Hatami praised the trademark “women, life and freedom” of the current protests, expressed grief over the “blood shed”, and called for the establishment’s name. warned that freedom should not be trampled under. She criticized security, as well as arrests of students and pressure on teachers.
His successor, hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, never turned up for a student’s day speech at the University of Tehran. Moderate Hassan Rouhani also struggled at Tehran University in his 2016, when Basij militia students attacked him and even told him not to consider his second term as president.