For Nasrin Sotoudeh-December 2012


December 7 th in Iran is the anniversary day of students’ movement. This anniversary, that is commemorated each year, marks the day that 3 university students were killed in Tehran in 1953, following a CIA backed coup in Iran, and at the time when Richard Nixon was visiting the country.
The student movement in Iran played a key role in fighting dictatorship at Shah’s era and in the 1979 revolution that ended his rule. After the revolution university students were in the forefront of resistance against the theocratic tyranny that came to power. Unable to bring the students into submission, in 1980, Khomeini regime, under the pretext of “Cultural Revolution” attacked the universities. Within few days 17 students were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. Regime closed down the universities for more than 3 years in an attempt to purge the universities from progressive and dissident students and faculty. In 1980’s students composed the highest percentage of tens of thousands who were imprisoned and executed.
After reopening, regime filled the universities with a high percentage of “Basijis” and “Revolutionary Guards” and its other agents posed as students. Candidates for higher education now had to pass a qualifying test for their “Islamic” knowledge rather than academic. Regime’s goal was to take complete control of the universities, but none of this could stop the student movement.
In July of 1999, under presidency of Khatami, just as the ruling clerics thought they have complete control over the universities, Iran witnessed its most significant student uprising. For several days pro-democracy students staged demonstrations against dictatorship in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards launched a brutal attack on Tehran University dormitories at midnight. Hundreds were arrested and hundreds were beaten by clubs, knuckle-dusters and electrical cables. A number of students were thrown out off the second and third floors and several were killed, but the student movement did not die. In the following years students continued their protests against the dictatorship.
This year, students played a key role in the protests after the June sham elections in Iran. But this time, unlike 1999, the protests did not remain limited to the universities and colleges. The cry of “Death to the Dictator” that students had been chanting in the universities soon became the main slogan of a mass movement that is now targeting the removal of the “supreme clerical ruler” and threatening the clerical regime in its entirety. The world is now witnessing the struggle of the Iranian people for democracy and human rights through images transmitted out of the country by the cell phones. Millions around the world watched the tragic death of Neda Agha-Soltan, a philosophy student, on the streets of Tehran. Many more students have been beaten, arrested, kidnapped, torture and murdered in the recent events. Nonetheless, students continue to play their role as vanguards and the engine of the current uprising in Iran.
This coming Monday, December 7 th , on the anniversary of students’ day in Iran, students will be staging yet another demonstration against the tyranny in Iran. In solidarity with this event we invite all the freedom loving people to raise their voice in support of the student movement for democracy and freedom in Iran.
What you can do:
– Write to president Obama and ask him to condemn the violent crack down of the Iranian people’s
uprising and adopt a firm policy toward the tyrannical regime in Iran.
– Write to your congressional representative and ask them to contact the State Department and
president Obama, to advocate a firm policy toward the Iranian regime. Ask them for their political
support for the democratic movement in Iran.
– Sign on to petitions by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International on human rights
issues in Iran.
– Get involved and support the activities by the Iranian-Americans in exposing violation of human
rights and for democratic change in Iran.

Coalition for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran

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