In the past month, the repression and arrests of teachers, and the continuing threats against them, have entered a new phase. Since the outbreak of nationwide protests following the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police, there have been disturbing reports of the treatment of teachers and students in Iran. In some cases, this has included murder. Threats, arrests, expulsion and forced early retirement are among the responses of security forces and education officials.
On hunger strike
The moment he was arrested, Hamid Jafari, a teacher at Asoudegi Vocational School in Kashan in Isfahan province, announced he was going on a hunger strike. According to information received by IranWire, this well-known teacher, football coach, Asian A-level futsal coach and the author of Dreaming of Playing at Azadi Stadium, was arrested by security forces on October 19 at his workplace.
His hunger strike is a direct response to the fact he has not been informed of the charges against him, it is not clear what will happen to him, and judiciary officials and security forces have treated him “disgracefully”.
Forced to resign
Forough Khosravi, the principal of Kowsar High School for girls in the city of Aghajari in Khuzestan, has been forced to resign, after six years in the role. She was told that, unless she resigned, a case would be built against her, which would be sent to the Security Department and the Disciplinary Committee of the province’s Education Department.
According to the Iranian Teachers Association, the Security Department informed the Education Bureau of Aghajari that she must not be allowed into the school even to remove her personal belongings.
Khosravi also taught at the Teachers College but all of her classes were canceled and she was told that she could no longer teach there.
Protesting sports teacher arrested
On the evening of Monday, October 17, Ahmad Alizadeh, a high school sports teacher at Abdanan in Ilam province, was arrested during protests in the city. His whereabouts and the charges against him remain unknown.
Fired for an Instagram story
The Teachers Association of Fars province reports that Javad Rezaei, the principal of Shahed High School in Shiraz, has been dismissed after he posted a story on his Instagram page in support of the protests.
“Our dear colleague Mr Javad Rezaei, principal of Shahed High School in District 3: You have bravely chosen to support students and the people of your land instead of the regime. You, yourself the son of a highly esteemed martyr for this land, have shown your support of this movement to prevent any assault on the women of this country,” the association announced in a statement.
The association condemned his dismissal and wrote: “Instead of such repressive measures, it would be better if, in this historical moment, officials would respect the social demands of the honorable Iranian people and listen to their calls for justice before it is too late.”
No news of arrested teacher
Since Thursday night, October 14, when the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization arrested Masoud Ghobadi, a teacher in Choram in the province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, there has been no news of his whereabouts.
Ghobadi is a popular teacher and civil activist in the province who has repeatedly condemned raids by security forces on schools.
Kerman Union activists summoned
On October 18, Zahra Azizi, Mohammad Reza Behzadpour and Hossein Rashidi, who had previously been released on bail, where once again summoned by Kerman security forces and interrogated.
Threat to rescind teaching permit
Ravin Mataei, a chemistry teacher in the city of Dehgolan in Kurdistan province for the last 20 years, has been threatened with the repeal of his teaching permit by the city’s Education Department.
The school year started three weeks ago but Mataei has yet to receive his renewed permit to return to teaching. According to the Coordinating Council of Teachers Unions, the order to refuse to renew his permit as issued by the Revolutionary Guards and sent to the security department of the city’s Education Department.
Speech therapy in prison
Pouria (Suran) Rashidi is an exceptional speech therapy teacher with Qazvin’s Education Department who has been in detention for a month. He has continued examining and treating children throughout this detention at Qazvin Central Prison in Choobindar.
According to Qazvin Teachers Association, Rashidi is also the only therapist in Qazvin province who is a specialist in children’s eating disorders and, at the behest of parents whose children were in danger after his arrest, the judge ordered the prison that he should be able to continue to provide his services while in custody.
On one day alone, October 20, Rashidi visited 13 children in prison from 8:30am to 1:30pm while he is suffering from extreme ear pain after being beaten by security forces. It is likely that his eardrum has been punctured.
Teacher activists in Qazvin told IranWire that when security forces raided Rashidi’s home in Qazvin to arrest him, his pregnant wife suffered a miscarriage. Rashidi has been a resident of Qazvin for eight years and, after this attack, several teachers and activists went to comfort the family.
Reportedly, Rashidi’s arrest is the result of a complaint by the security forces about his activities when he was a university student in Hamedan.
Death from heart attack
With the ongoing student protests, school managers have been left with only two choices: They must either cooperate with security forces or face numerous potential risks including arrest, threat of dismissal, forced retirement or summons by the Education Department’s security agencies or the Intelligence Ministry.
After repeated summons by these security agencies, Ali Jalili, the principal of Mozaffar Brothers Work and Science High School in Tehran’s Educational District 4, had a heart attack and died.
The Coordinating Council of Teachers Unions offered his condolences to Jalili’s family and colleagues, and called for an end to summons, threats, arrests and the crackdown on protests.
Two teachers arrested in Khomeini Shahr
Hamid Mujiri and Sattar Rezaei, two teachers and members of Khomeini Shahr Teachers Association in Isfahan province, have been detained since October 11. They were arrested at the school where they teach.
It is not clear which agency was responsible for their arrest, and their whereabouts and charges against them also remain unknown.
Student in Ardebil confirmed dead
On October 14, Iranian teenager Asra Panahi was beaten to death in Ardebil for refusing to sing “Hello Commander”, a pro-regime anthem. This happened when plainclothes officers raided Shahed Girls High School. Several other students were also injured and arrested.
When the students refused to sing the song, security forces beat the pupils, leading to a number of girls being taken to hospital and others arrested. Panahi reportedly died in hospital due to injuries sustained at the school.
Iranian officials denied that its security forces were responsible and, after her death sparked outrage across the country, a masked man identified as her uncle appeared on state TV channels claiming she died from a congenital heart condition. He emphasized that her death was "not related to any protest or rebellion". Another relative also appeared on state TV and denied that the young girl died as a result of the attack.
Six students abducted
The Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw reported on October 21 that six teenage schoolgirls have been abducted by security forces from the city Javanrud in Kermanshah province following a raid on a high school. Their names are Kimia Alimoradi, Sandus Yaghoubi, Hero Nuri, Elina Ranjbar, Raha Saburi, and Sara Karami.
Warning from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child condemned the grave violations of children's rights and urged the Iranian authorities to stop all violence against children in a statement on October 17.
“The Committee is alarmed by the killings by security forces of at least 23 children, including an 11-year-old boy,” said the statement. “According to reliable reports, some children were shot with live ammunition, while others died as a result of beatings. Many families reported that, despite grieving for the loss of a child, they were pressured to absolve security forces by declaring that their children had committed suicide and making false confessions.
“The Committee is also deeply concerned at reports that children have been arrested in schools and detained together with adults, and that some have been subjected to acts of torture. The announcement made by the Ministry of Education on 12 October that children arrested were being transferred to psychological centers for correction and education to prevent them from becoming anti-social characters and numerous reports of retaliatory expulsions of many high school students are also matters of concern to the Committee.
“We strongly urge Iran to comply with its international human rights obligations, particularly those under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This begins with the fundamental obligation to protect children’s right to life under any circumstances.
“The Committee reaffirms the obligation incumbent on the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect and protect children’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest. Many children, including many girls, are protesting to make their opinions known on issues that matter to them. Their right to be heard should not be stifled by any level of force. The Committee strongly urges Iran to cease the use of force against peaceful protests and protect the children participating in peaceful demonstrations.”