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Tehran University Denies Mass Expulsion of Critics

University of Tehran. Photo credits: Wikipedia

On March 14, 2024, the Chancellor of Tehran University, Mohammad Moghimi, denied claims of mass expulsion of scholars based on their political beliefs. The university insisted that the dismissals are based on “moral issues”. This latest purge of scholars from campuses started under President Ebrahim Raisi and escalated after the nation-wide Women, Life, Freedom protests in Iran. The Women, Life, Freedom protests followed the murder of Mahsa Amini by the morality police on September 16, 2022. Since then, campuses around the country have become centers of political demonstrations.


Scholars who were dismissed, include Ali Sharifi-Zarchi, Somayyeh Sima, Bijan Abdul Karimi, Mohammad Fazeli, Arash Abazari, Ebrahim Bay Salami, and Azin Movahed. The crackdown on faculty who have shown support for the Women, Life, Freedom movement include detention, suspension, early retirement, salary reduction, and contract non-renewal. Fired faculty members, such as Ebrahim Bay Salami and Azin Movahed have challenged the denial by Chancellor Moghimi that the terminations are not political, as they themselves have witnessed and experienced the purge of academics following the 2022 uprising.


Chancellor Moghimi has insisted that he is ready to debate any scholar who has claimed to be terminated for political reasons. Salmi and Mohaved have expressed a desire to engage and debate with the university admin, asking them to release their academic dossiers and disclose the decision-making process that led to their expulsion.


Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) is deeply concerned with the state of higher education and freedom of speech in Iran. ESW condemns the mass dismissals of scholars from the universities in Tehran University in addition to the 157 tenured professors around the country, which indicates that universities are following the state’s repression of critics and dissidents. ESW demands higher education institutions in Iran reinstate the expelled academics and ensure academic freedom for all members of the academic community. ESW further calls on all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and individuals dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights to hold the Iranian government and higher education institutions to account.


Read more on our coverage on Iran here.



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1 Comment

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