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Two Iranian university professors have been suspended from their jobs after they came out in support of nationwide protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody.
Amir Maziar, a member of the Faculty of Theoretical Sciences at the Tehran University of Arts, published his suspension letter on February 7 and wrote that Kurosh Golnari, another member of the faculty of the same university, also received a similar letter.Maziar added that some of his colleagues are under pressure to sign letters condemning the protesters, "which has happened at universities and other educational institutions as well."According to Maziar, pressure on professors continues in other ways as well, including instances of forced retirement.Anger over Amini's death on September 16 has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women's rights.Numerous protests have been held at universities, particularly in Tehran, where many students have refused to attend classes. Protesting students have chanted "woman, life, freedom" and "death to the dictator" at the rallies. Some female students have removed and burned their head scarves.In recent months, the Tehran University of Arts has been a center of creative performances in support of the protests in Iran, including the erection of symbolic tombstones on the university campus in memory of protesters killed by the security forces, which has gone viral on social media.In most of the protests, students have asked professors to support them, and some university professors and lecturers have expressed solidarity with the protesters.Universities and students have long been at the forefront of the struggle for greater social and political freedoms in Iran. In 1999, students protested the closure of a reformist daily, prompting a brutal raid on the dorms of Tehran University that left one student dead.Over the years, the authorities have arrested student activists and leaders, sentencing them to prison and banning them from studying.The activist HRANA news agency said that, as of January 26, at least 700 university students had been arrested during the recent unrest.Many have faced sentences such as imprisonment, flogging, and dozens of students have been expelled from universities or suspended from their studies, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.
The ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the revolution, a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty, takes place every year on February 11. Many of the celebrations are marked with extensive government propaganda.This year, however, the anniversary will be held as the government faces one of the biggest threats to its Islamic leadership since the revolution, with a wave of protests following the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.The opposition activist collective 1500tasvir reported that the families of several victims killed by state authorities, including Nika Shakrami, Navid Afkari and Mino Majidi, have created the hashtag "#BoycottIRIDay" on Twitter and are asking diplomatic missions based in Iran to boycott the ceremonies.Videos posted on social media in recent days have shown protesters in several Iranian cities set fire to propaganda banners hung by the government to promote the revolution and anniversary celebrations around it.Amini's death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of anti-government protests in cities across the country.
The hard-line Fars news agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), quoted the prosecutor of Razavi Khorasan Province as saying the doctor was summoned and charged for "insulting a hijabi woman and insulting clerics," while his clinic was also sealed.In recent weeks, numerous reports have been published about the sealing of businesses, restaurants, cafes, and in some cases even pharmacies for owners and managers failing to observe Islamic laws and mandatory hijab rules.The wave of closings comes amid the months-long public anger that erupted after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in September while in custody after being detained by morality police in Tehran for "improperly" wearing a head scarf.Since Amini's death, Iranians have flooded into the streets across the country to protest against a lack of rights, with women and schoolgirls making unprecedented shows of support in the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.In response, the authorities have launched a brutal crackdown on dissent, detaining thousands and handing down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
Iranian state media reported on February 5 that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued an amnesty for "tens of thousands" of prisoners, including protesters arrested during the anti-government rallies, as the country finds itself engulfed in a wave of protests following the September 16 death of a young woman while in custody for allegedly violating the country's head-scarf law.Saeed Dehghan, the lawyer of several political activists, called the statements of the judiciary authorities an attempt by the regime to "impose a false narrative" and "impudently change the positions of the plaintiff and the accused."Meanwhile, a group of Iranian users on Twitter reacted to the news of Khamenei's amnesty in a campaign with the hashtag #NeverForget (#یادمون_نمیره) that recalled the killing of protesters and regime opponents.Khamenei's order to pardon some prisoners is a common procedure that usually occurs before the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, this year the order has been issued as the government faces one of the biggest threats to the Islamic leadership since the revolution in 1979.State media quoted Sadegh Rahimi, the deputy of the judiciary, as saying that in order to be pardoned, the accused must "express regret for their activities and give a written commitment not to repeat those activities."Reports also indicate that Khamenei's amnesty order does not include dual-national prisoners and those accused of "corruption on Earth," a charge that many of those arrested in the recent nationwide protests are facing and which could carry the death penalty.Human rights groups estimate that around 20,000 people have been arrested in connection with the protests so far.The Norway-based Iran Human Rights Group estimates that around 100 prisoners may face the death penalty.
Panahi, 62, was arrested in July as the authorities cracked down on dissent in response to growing antiestablishment sentiment and near-daily protests over living conditions and graft across the Islamic republic.Just days prior to his arrest, Panahi had joined a group of more than 300 Iranian filmmakers in publishing an open letter calling on the security forces to "lay down arms" in the face of public outrage over "corruption, theft, inefficiency, and repression" following the violent crackdown against those protesting a building collapse in May in the southwestern city of Abadan, which killed 41 people.Those protests were overtaken by a wave of unrest following the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly violating the country's head-scarf law.Since the start of daily protests that have rocked Iran since Amini's death, several Iranian filmmakers and prominent public figures have been summoned or arrested by the authorities, including the popular actress Taraneh Alidoosti.
Several videos published on social networks showed people setting fire to the government's propaganda banners for the 44th anniversary of the revolution that brought Iran's clerical rulers to power. The anniversary falls on February 11.The unrest was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. The 22-year-old died while in custody after being arrested by the notorious morality police for improperly wearing a mandatory Islamic head scarf, or hijab.Her death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of anti-government protests in cities across the country. The authorities have met the unrest with a harsh crackdown that rights groups say has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children.Officials, who have blamed the West for the demonstrations, have vowed to crack down even harder on protesters, with the judiciary leading the way after the unrest entered a fourth month.The protests pose the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.Several thousand people have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.
-- There was no improvement to the protection of rights of women, children and elders, and the vulnerable groups' rights were seriously violated. Women were paid much less compared to their male colleagues. Women with city government jobs in New York made 18 percent less than men (www.nydailynews.com, April 11, 2016). Women comprised about 60 percent of California workers earning minimum wage or less (www.sandiegouniontribune.com, April 10, 2016). Sexual harassments and assaults took place frequently. Roughly one in four women said they have been harassed on the job (www.usatoday.com, July 7, 2016). A total of 20 percent of young women who attended college during a four-year span said they had been sexually assaulted (www.washingtonpost.com, March 5, 2016). Poverty rate among children remained high and an estimated 6.8 million people aged 10 to 17 are food insecure (www.urban.org, September 11, 2016). Cases of elder abuse happened from time to time and about 5 million older adults were subject to abuse each year (www.csmonitor.com, June 15, 2016). 2b1af7f3a8