At 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, a group of students expelled from universities or otherwise discriminated against were represented by the Council in Defense of the Right to Education and met with a number of political and social activists in the home of one of the human rights proponents. The purpose of this gathering was to explore problems confronted by the Council and identify ways to advance the Council’s objectives.
In accordance with a previous announcement of the Council, Dr. Muhammad Molki was the speaker at yesterday’s get-together. In referring to his previous efforts in support of student movements, he stated:
Since 1956 when I entered academia, I have never severed my communications with students. After the Revolution, even though I was about 50 years old, I was imprisoned twice. And until this moment, whatever has happened to me, I consider it my duty to be at your service since I’m an academician. Based on my experience, I advise you either not to enter into this discussion, or be prepared for whatever consequences may await you.
This political activist then outlined the role of intellectuals in the 1970s in creating the current conditions, and added:
Prior to the Revolution, university students were the foremost soldiers of our society. I remember at that time, Dr. Farhad stood before the Shah and sternly announced, “For as long as there is one student in your prisons, the university will not open” and the Shah consented to his request [and released imprisoned student activists]. This was because Dr. Farhad himself represented the will of the people and was selected by the students.
However, it was us the intellectuals who created the wide open field for the ascent of those who are suppressing you today. Therefore, you must be vigilant so that your movement is not misused or absorbed by others; as such, you must take the same steps and in the same direction as other movements of the Iranian people. You must join in one voice with the workers, teachers, journalists, feminists, and all other segments of the people.
In continuing this discussion, Mr. Kayvan Samimi and the representatives of the students deprived of the right to education expressed their views.
Mahdieh Gulrow and Sadeq Shojaeei, who are students barred from continuing their education at Allamih University, emphasized the goals of the Council and stated, “It is true that we defend the right to education. However, our objectives are broader than achieving just this right. We also demand other rights, such as restoration of democratic values, liberty, open and fair elections, and other such fundamental rights.”
Zia Nabavi, a star student at the Technical University of Babul, also expressed his views about the Council’s objectives and said, “With a greater integration of our organization in the future, we will endeavor to broaden the scope of activities of this newly-instituted Council, and will take positive steps towards our objectives with specific programs.”
Also in yesterday’s gathering, a number of Baha’i students were represented. Parham Aqdasi and Armin Lutfi gave a report of the problems that have beset Baha’i students since 1979, and spoke about these issues with the attendees.
Abulfadl ‘Abedian and Milad Ebrahimian were also in attendance representing the group Human Rights Activists in Iran. In referring to Dr. Molki’s remarks, ‘Abedian asked the gathering, “In what direction is the student movement progressing in Iran at the present time? Is it moving in the same direction mentioned by Dr. Molki about the foremost soldiers of the previous generation, who today confront with all their might any new ideas or the smallest criticism? Has the time not come for our student movement to recognize the historical juncture which has been reached and to take new strides for its next achievements?”
Ebrahimian added, “Human Rights Activists will exert every effort in its power to achieve the objectives of this Council.”
[The above report was posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, by Human Rights Activists in Iran at: http://www.hrairan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84:2008-12-17-11-41-38&catid=15:2008-12-06-06-17-08&Itemid=34. It appears above in translation. Translated by Ahang Rabbani.]