The five-week-old antigovernment protests in Iran continued Tuesday with university students staging demonstrations across the country.
Students at various universities in Tehran, Shiraz, Gilan and Mazandaran gathered and chanted slogans against the Islamic Republic.
Reports say in Tehran's Kharazmi University, officials prevented male and female students from eating together at the canteen, but the students took their food to the courtyard to show their anger at gender discrimination.
Students at Beheshti University in northern Tehran also defied the Islamic Republic's rules and ate lunch together. Gender segregation in many public places has been a hallmark of the clerical regime’s enforcement of its interpretation of Islamic rules.
A video received by Iran International shows that the students of Allameh University in northern Tehran chanted “Shameless, Shameless” against the government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi who was there to give a speech.
In Gilan University, students gathered and chanted “No headscarves, No discrimination, Freedom and Equality.”
Similar protests were also reported in Shiraz and Mazandaran provinces.
Meanwhile, the school students kept up with their routine protests on Tuesday. A video from a school in Tehran shows the students ask drivers in the streets to chant their slogans instead.
Reports said oil and petrochemical sector workers continued their strikes in Assaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Abadan, Bushehr, and South Pars Petrochemical Companies as well as Haft-Tappeh Sugar Company, Kangan refinery, and Neyriz Ghadir Steel Complex in Fars province.
Despite regime threats of more clampdown on protesters on Tuesday, young anonymous activists defied the government and called for mass demonstrations on Wednesday.
“We ask businessmen, workers, and older generations to accompany us and stop the oppression and killing of young people,” reads one of these announcements calling on people to show up everywhere they can in their neighborhoods at 6 P.M. on Wednesday.
The youth committees of Mahabad, Sanandaj and Kermanshah in western Iran have supported the call for street protests on Wednesday.
In the northwestern city of Tabriz activists have called for protests on Thursday, which coincides with the birth anniversary of Sattar Khan who is considered a national hero by the Iranians and revered in his birthplace, East Azarbaijan province. Sattar Khan was a military hero of Iran’s constitutional movement in early 1900s.
Reports on social media suggest that the government has deployed additional forces in great numbers to Tabriz to be prepared for a brutal crackdown.
Deputy Commander of Police Force Qassem Rezaie said on Tuesday that “chaos, unrest and damage to the people” is a redline for the police and law enforcement agents will no longer show restraint against “norm breakers, rioters and the dissent.”
According to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights Organization, at least 230 people, including 27 children have been killed with excessive and lethal force during the current protests.
Rezaie repeated the cliché remarks of the clerical regime's officials, especially Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, blaming the protests on the “sworn enemies.” He said they are after creating “sedition” in the country by “exaggerating the problems” to “deceive” some people.
However, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi claimed on Tuesday that the regime is open to criticism and protesters can express their views.
During his trip to the southern province of Bushehr, the Iranian hardliner minister, who is wanted by the Interpol in connection with the murder of 85 people at a Jewish center in Argentina back in 1994, linked the current protests to “enemies” and their “calculation errors”.
He once again blamed the riots on “the adversary news channels”, referring to Persian speaking foreign-based television stations beaming programs into Iran, claiming they are trying “to create chaos, but to no avail.”
Shutting down the Internet, jamming satellite signals of foreign TV channels, and many other tactics suggest that Iranian regime is desperately afraid of media and social media impact.
In a similar statement, Commander of Tehran Revolutionary Guard Ahmad Zolghadr also said Tuesday that now “instead of bombs and mortars, signals enter through cyberspace and deceive some people.”