Iranian authorities have banned a prominent professor of Persian literature who has voiced support for students' demonstrations from teaching, amid a brutal crackdown in universities and other higher education institutions.
On October 26, Dr. Iraj Mehraki was prevented from entering the Islamic Azad University of Karaj after refusing to backtrack his support for the protesting students.
"You are not qualified to teach," University officials told Mehraki, who has devoted his life to Persian lexicography.
Young men and women, including university students, have been at the forefront of the nationwide protest movement sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. The largely peaceful demonstrations have grown to become the biggest challenge to Iran’s regime since the 2009 protest movement.
The heavy-handed crackdown unleashed by security forces on the unrest has killed at least 253 people, including 34 children, according to Iran Human Rights. Several thousand people have been arrested.
On October 30, the Oslo-based human rights organization urged universities across the world to condemn “the suppression of students and protecting the sanctity of universities.”
“Armed plainclothes forces have entered university campuses to violently crush and arrest protesting students,” the group said in a statement, adding that plainclothes forces “attacked students and kidnapped a number of them from their dormitories.”
On October 29 in Sanandaj, security forces entered dormitories of the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, and fired tear gas and live ammunition to arrest students, it said, adding that similar brutality was used against students in Tehran, Ahvaz and elsewhere.