Dismissal of two professors from two of Iran’s top universities has created controversy, evoking memories of purging independent-minded academics in the past.
Mohammad Fazeli, a professor of sociology at Beheshti University, and Arash Abazari, a philosophy professor at Sharif University, were dismissed in the last few days.
Abazari is well-known for his book Hegel's Ontology of Power: The Structure of Social Domination in Capitalism, which was published by Cambridge University Press. Fazeli’s works focus on sociology of politics and science, especially in the energy sector.
The Islamic Republic has conducted several ‘cleansing’ operations in universities, firing professors that it has deemed not committed to the regime.
The most widespread firings took place right after the 1979 revolution and was peaked again during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who forced many professors into retirement.
Kaave Lajevardi, a fellow philosopher and translator, called it a disgrace for Iran’s education system, saying that Abazari is not tolerated while many are busy Islamizing the universities.
Abdonnaser Hemmati, the former head of Iran’s central bank who run for president last June, has protested to Fazeli’s firing and called on President Ebrahim Raisi to intervene.
Renowned reformist Abbas Abdi described such dismissals as part of a larger process to destroy the institution of science in Iran.