Former university professor Reza Salehi Amiri

Iranian Universities Continue Purge On Dissident Professors

Wednesday, 09/06/2023

Iranian authorities have ordered the prevention of lectures by two former regime officials at the University of Tehran and the University of Science and Research as the regime continues to purge dissident voices from academia.

Reza Salehi Amiri, who previously held key positions in the Ministry of Sports and Youth and chaired the National Olympic Committee, was among those affected. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Hossein Alai, a former commander of the Navy of the Revolutionary Guards, and a former Deputy Minister of Defense, also faced restrictions.

Further exacerbating concerns to academic freedom, reports from human rights media indicate that two professors, Maham Mighani from the Faculty of Drama at the University of Tehran and Sara Malekan from the Faculty of Management at Amir Kabir University, have been expelled from their positions. Mighani had halted his classes in protest against the detention of his students last year, while Malekan had been critical of security measures at her university.

The purge of dissident professors in Iran has gained momentum since the protests associated with the Woman, Life, Freedom movement which began in September. The situation escalated when Professor Ali Sharifi-Zarchi, a member of Sharif University of Technology's bioinformatics and AI Faculty, announced his expulsion on August 26. Sharifi-Zarchi had supported dissident students during nationwide protests that followed Mahsa Amini's tragic death in custody on September 16.

Observers speculate that these dismissals may be a preemptive measure to quell potential campus protests on the upcoming first anniversary of Amini's death.

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