Iran's security forces focusing on student protesters lately are using plainclothes agents to arrest and abduct students in universities across the country.
By Iranian law, military and law enforcement forces are banned from entering university grounds or making arrests inside campuses, but in the past few days plainclothes agents have attacked student gatherings and dormitories in several universities arresting several hundred people often using great violence.
University security guards responsible for protection of students often looked the other way or cooperated with the plainclothes agents, students say. Protests, however, have grown even bigger after the attacks and arrests.
“Please help! They are murdering us here! We need the world to hear our voice,” a student from Sadaf dorm of Jondishapour University in Ahvaz told me in a chat in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Minutes earlier security forces had raided Sadaf dorm. A video students shared on Twitter showed several plainclothesmen dragging a student, Mohammad Safaei, on the floor while he cried for help from fellow students.
Students besieged by IRGC Basij forces inside a section of Mashhad University
“They cut off the power in the dormitory and forced their way into the building … The [plainclothes] IRGC and Basij people and intelligence ministry agents have stationed themselves in front of the entrance and are preventing students from coming and going,” the student said, adding that the assailants threatened to shoot other students to stop them from helping Safaei. “They abducted four of us.”
Mobile internet was completely shut off and wi-fi was intermittent, my student contact said on the night of the raid. “It takes me so much effort to connect to the wi-fi, it’s exhausting to post anything.”
On the same night they arrested three other students for writing antigovernment slogans on the walls of their campus and protesting peacefully. “If a hair is lost [on the head of a student], a thousand will rise,” students who gathered on the campus grounds afterward the arrests chanted.
Similar raids have been made on several other campuses including Noshirvani University of Technology in the northern city of Babol in Mazandaran Province where at least 25 students were arrested Wednesday. Plainclothesmen fired bullets and tear gas inside the dormitory compound during the incident.
“They are shooting at us inside the university, it's not birdshot it's real live ammunition,” one of the students trapped at Sanandaj University tweeted Sunday morning while a Twitter post by a relative of a student abducted in Kermanshah, Mahshid Moshashaei, begged everyone for information on her whereabouts. Moshashaei was taken, apparently by intelligence ministry agents, from her dormitory on Saturday.
In Mashhad, Iran’s second most populous city, plainclothesmen barricaded the gate of Azad University for hours Saturday night and trapped the students inside. Parents and worried citizens who had gathered in front of the university were attacked by plainclothesmen, too. Students say around 10 of them were arrested during the standoff.
In a statement released on social media Sunday, said they would go on indefinite strike in protest to the violence by university security and plainclothesmen.
Students have posted a video showing a young woman, probably a student, being forced into a car by plainclothes agents early Saturday morning in front of the same university. Witnesses said on Twitter that those who tried to prevent the abduction were tasered by one of the plainclothes agents.
Plainclothesmen’s violence against students has risen to such levels that students belonging to the regime’s Basij militia have found it indefensible and even repugnant.
In a video posted on Twitter, the Basiji student recording a standoff between protesting students and the agents at Esfahan University Saturday says, “They are not Basijis, [pro-government] revolutionary students are on this side. These guys who are wielding chains [to hit students] are hooligans who are from outside [the university].”