Coordination Council calls for ‘new initiatives’ ahead of Student Day

‘Students in vanguard of democracy movement’

In anticipation of Student Day in Iran, the Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope has called on students to take the “initiative” to express “dissatisfaction” over the current state of affairs in the country.

“The country’s students have always been, and will be, at the forefront of the struggle against tyranny and imperialism,” a statement by the Green Movement’s highest decision making body said on Saturday. “Students have continuously been in the vanguard of the fight for freedom, and, of course, those in the frontlines of the struggle sustain most of the blows.”

In a damning 21-page report submitted in September, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said that students in Iran “faced arrest and intimidation and were sometimes subjected to beatings and torture for their ties to legally registered student activist organisations.”

The UN report documented “physical and psychological abuse” against student activists who were regularly “coerced into making a televised confession,” and were at times even “denied proper medical care” and the right to continue their higher education as a result of their political leanings.

In their statement, the members of the opposition council said that the upcoming parliamentary elections in March 2012 would “not be held freely.”

They argued that Iranians were faced with an “incompetent government, which has embroiled the country in a large financial crisis with its disorganised and disordered management; policies that have not only been proven futile in spreading justice, but have instead further deepened the gap between the rich and the poor; international sanctions and threats which have been brought about by senseless and adventurous [government] policies.”

The council also invited students to take initiative and to “carefully analyse Iranian society” in order to “open a path of hope” in the country.

“If the current atmosphere of repression … is an obstacle in the way of the student organisations’ unhindered activity, small groups with goals and responsibilities can be formed [to reach a breakthrough]. If the police-state atmosphere at universities has left no place for meetings and protests, one can find new alternative ways for exchanging ideas and expressing collective discontent.”

On 7 December (16 Azar in the Iranian calendar) Iran marks Student Day, an annual commemoration of the killing of three students at a protest on 7 December 1953, in the aftermath of an CIA-backed coup to restore the Shah to power and topple the country’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

The Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope called on “all students, no matter where they are, to honour, by any means possible, the memory of all the students who seek freedom and democracy.”

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