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Iranian Students Undergo Face Scanning at Universities

October 3, 2023
4 min read
Yesterday, the Amirkabir Newsletter reported that a number of students from this university were denied entry without any official order from the disciplinary committee or a direct order from the university president, which is completely illegal
Yesterday, the Amirkabir Newsletter reported that a number of students from this university were denied entry without any official order from the disciplinary committee or a direct order from the university president, which is completely illegal

A week after the reopening of Iranian universities, reports from independent student sources indicate a trend of increasing security pressures and the widening scope of repression in universities. 

A report published on the Amirkabir Newsletter Telegram channel, which covers news related to this university, said that one day after the professors of the Sharif University Professors Union were summoned to the "Follow-up Office of the Ministry of Intelligence," at least 10 student activists from three universities – Amirkabir, Sharif, and Tehran University – were summoned to the intelligence office.  

These summonses were sent via "private" numbers and, in some cases, the institution behind them or the reasons for them remain unknown.

Yesterday, the Amirkabir Newsletter reported that a number of students from this university were denied entry without any official order from the disciplinary committee or a direct order from the university president, which is completely illegal.

In another report, the Telegram channel reported a verbal confrontation between a plainclothe member of the security forces and a student in the university. 

The student was threatened that a “case” would be initiated against him and that he would soon be sent to Tehran’s Evin prison.

The officer refused to identify himself.

Amirkabir University students also reported that agents in informal uniforms are patrolling the premises, saying it was part of efforts to create "tensions” in the university's educational environments.

Students’ Faces Scanned in Shiraz and Isfahan 

Several student sources have shared photos and videos depicting the "facial scanning of students" in various universities. 

According to these sources, university authorities require students to have their faces scanned and identified through a "face recognition system" before accessing essential services.

A video released on October 1 on the United Students' Telegram channel shows students at Shiraz University undergoing such scans in order to access food in the university's self-service facilities.

Student councils across the country have reported a similar situation at Isfahan University of Arts, where a new student card is being issued to all students.

All students at the university were compelled to stand in front of face recognition machines and undergo face scanning when collecting their student cards in the security building.

Reports suggest that security officers claimed these measures were necessary to ascertain a person's student status in case of a lost student card.

Students believe these measures were implemented after the installation of new cameras across many university campuses.

Student unions representatives also revealed that since the start of the academic year, facial scanning devices have been installed at the entrances of female students' dormitories at Isfahan University of Arts. 

Professors Suspended

Amid growing pressure from the Islamic Republic to silence academia, administrators at Beheshti University suspended Professor Yadullah Dadgar, a member of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences. 

In addition, all of his classes have been canceled for the current semester. Dadgar was recognized as a "model professor of Beheshti University" in 2013.

According to reports from student union councils, the reason for his suspension was his involvement in “a collective letter signed by university professors in support of protesting students." 

Students at the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences expressed "strong objection and dissatisfaction" over the move.

They also voiced their concerns about the "removal of prominent professors and the declining academic standards of the faculties." 

Dr. Elham Chashmkhani, an assistant professor at Amirkabir University’s Faculty of Computer Engineering was also dismissed under the pressure from "security institutions," while all of her classes were removed from the educational portal.

The extension of Chashmkhani's contract with the university was rejected because of her purported "support in protesting students." 

In the weeks leading up to the new academic year, many professors across Iran were dismissed or suspended. 

While the government has not officially disclosed the number of professors targeted, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Science said that at least 58 university professors have been dismissed since the start of Ebrahim Raisi’s presidency in August 2021. 

Gholamreza Nouri Qazaljeh, the head of the parliament’s Independent Faction, has stated that "Ebrahim Raisi is responsible for the dismissal of professors from the university."

According to Dr. Mohsen Borhani, a professor who has been suspended from activities at Tehran University, authorities started purging the ranks of university professors a month after the Raisi government came into power – before the eruption of the Woman, Life, Freedom protests a year ago. 

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