Cyprus Mail
Middle EastWorld

Iran university students strike, piling pressure on rulers

protestors chant inside the department of textile engineering of amirkabir university of technology
Protestors chant inside the Department of Textile Engineering of Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) in Tehran, Iran in this still image from a video

Iranian university students pressed ahead with sit-down strikes on Tuesday in support of some of the biggest protests since the 1979 revolution, ignoring harsh warnings by elite security forces and a bloody crackdown.

The Islamic Republic has faced sustained anti-government demonstrations since Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police seven weeks ago after she was arrested for wearing clothes deemed “inappropriate”.

The activist HRANA news agency said the sit-down strikes were taking place in several cities including Tehran and Isfahan, part of a popular revolt calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leaders in decades, the protests have been gaining more and more steam, frustrating authorities who have tried to put the blame on Iran’s foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest, a narrative that few Iranians believe.

“People risk their lives to go to the streets but the hope that they are able to defeat the regime is much bigger than their fears,” said Omid Memarian, senior Iran analyst at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).

Asieh Bakeri, the daughter of a war hero from the country’s conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, lashed out at Iran’s rulers.

“Yes, martyrs are looking over us but they are also watching over your theft of public treasury, embezzlement, discrimination, oppression, pouring of innocents’ blood,” she said, underscoring how discontent is spreading to families who have a special place in society.

“You shoot at the people with war weapons … it’s been years you have harassed journalists with accusations of spying.”

Protesters from all walks of life have taken part, with students and women playing a prominent role, waving and burning headscarves.

Analysts doubt that the protests can bring down Iran’s clerical rulers but they say the unrest is seen as a step that may eventually lead to dramatic political change.

“These protests are being seen as an opportunity to push for change … this is a moment they hope to build upon,” said Sanam Vakil, deputy director at the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

At least four students from Bahonar Middle School in the city of Sanandaj were arrested by security forces, said HRANA.

Iran’s hardline judiciary will hold public trials of about 1,000 people indicted for unrest in Tehran, intensifying efforts to crush weeks of demonstrations.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Hungary can soon ratify Sweden’s Nato bid, PM Orban says

Reuters News Service

Navalny was struck down with ‘sudden death syndrome’, his mother was told at Russian prison

Reuters News Service

Russia says its forces move forward after Ukraine withdraws from Avdiivka

Reuters News Service

Christodoulides ‘appalled’ by Navalny’s death

Nikolaos Prakas

Zelenskiy urges leaders to end arms shortage that is helping Putin

Reuters News Service

At least 340 people detained in Russia at events in memory of Navalny (Update 2)

Reuters News Service