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Source: RFE/RL

Aug 11, 2023

Iranian Regime Concerned Start Of New School Year Could Spark Fresh Protests On Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini's Death

Iranian authorities are looking into measures apparently meant to avoid fresh protests among students as they return to school in September -- the month that will also mark the anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody after being arrested for wearing a hijab, or head scarf, improperly.

According to human rights activists, more than 140 major Iranian universities have held protest gatherings in the aftermath of Amini's death.

Mehdi Golshani, the head of Tehran's public transportation department, proposed a shift to online teaching until October 1, in a move officially meant to reduce traffic congestion in the capital.Iranian security services, meanwhile, initiated a series of "telephone summons" targeting students after Mostafa Rastegari, the top representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for higher education, warned of potential fresh public protests originating from academic institutions and hinted that measures to deter protests were needed.

Subsequently, student councils across Iran reported an uptick in the number of "telephone summons" for students likely to stage protests. In some instances, when students failed to respond, security forces reached out to their families.

In a separate move, Rastegari, in cooperation with security services, launched an effort to organize the students who support the government across national universities.

Rastegari's plan is distinct from the "Velayat Plan," another initiative being implemented at various military, security, and academic levels.

Authorities maintain that the plan is designed to "enlighten" government-supporting students and use them to counteract perceived external threats.

More than 750 students were detained for their participation in the protests and many are now facing severe prison sentences.

Moreover, hundreds of students, especially those challenging the mandatory hijab, have been subjected to various punitive measures, including suspensions and expulsions.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
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