A protest demonstration by students at the University of Tehran (2022)

Iranian Students Declare Nationwide Strike Against Autocracy

Tuesday, 12/05/2023

Iranian students suspended from universities issued a statement declaring December 6 as a "nationwide student strike."

The statement criticized the Islamic Republic, stating that it has “legitimized itself through autocracy and relies on coercive forces.”

The students urged their peers across Iranian universities to "refrain from attending classes for one day" as a form of protest. The announcement comes amid increasing pressure on students, with reports of summonings and suspensions related to clothing choices, stemming from last year's nationwide protests following the controversial death of Iranian-Kurd Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

Students were at the heart of protests and were consequently harshly punished, including bans on education. The death of the 22-year-old, arrested for the inappropriate wearing of her hijab, triggered widespread civil unrest and became a focal point for student-led protests across Iran. Iranian universities have witnessed heightened tensions since last year, particularly as students view the government as a symbol of a patriarchal society that contradicts their pursuit of gender equality.

The refusal to adhere to the mandatory hijab is also seen as a manifestation of discontent with the Islamic Republic and its policies. The wave of student protests draws parallels with the political unrest of the 1960s and 70s, though during that period, the focus was on political issues rather than hijab-related concerns.

Since last September, at least a thousand protesting students have faced suspension or academic bans across various universities in Iran.

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