Tag Archives: Student Protest In Iran

This Week: Israel Boycott; Tehran Art Exhibit in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This week on Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, we’ll have a conversation with Ali Abu Nima, co-Founder of Electronic Intifada and activist and Middle East expert Jeff Blankfort, in which they each comment on an interview Voices of the Middle East and North Africa first taped and aired last month with Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT on the subject of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as well as the role of Israeli lobby in influencing US foreign policy when it comes to Israel/Palestine. We invited Prof. Chomsky back for this debate, but he declined.

Click here to listen to the interview with Chomsky:

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Later in the program, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa producer Shuka Kalantari will talk to Bay Area-based artist Taraneh Hemami about an exhibit she has curated, titled ‘One Day: A Collective Narrative of Tehran‘, and which is currently showing at the Intersection for the Arts Gallery in San Francisco.

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This Week: Iran Political Crisis; Berber New Year

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This week on Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, Shahram Aghamir will speak with Ali Rezaei a social researcher at the University of Calgary in Canada about the political crisis within the Iranian regime.

Later in the program, leading Bay Area based Algerian Berber musician and song writer Moh Alileche will talk to us about the Berber New year of 2960.

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On KALW’s Your Call Radio: What is the state of the Iran protests?

KALW’s Your Call with Sandip Roy

‘What is the state of the protest in Iran? On the next Your Call we will discuss this Saturday’s demonstration in support of the Iranian opposition at San Francisco City Hall – a demonstration that some groups on the left have decided to boycott.”

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Guests:
Shahram Aghamir in San Francisco
Bay Area based activist and producer of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa on KPFA

Kaveh Ehsani in Chicago
Assistant professor of International Studies at Depaul University and a member of the editorial boards of Middle East Report and the Tehran-based Goft-o-gu (Dialogue).

Reese Erlich in Oakland
Reese Erlich is a best-selling book author and Peabody-award winning journalist who writes regularly for the Dallas Morning News, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio and National Public Radio. Erlich is co-author of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You and his latest book Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba was published this year. Reese is just back from a trip to Iran.

Hadi Ghaemi in New York
Spokesperson for United 4 Iran, the organizers of Saturday’s rallies. The rally in San Francisco will be from noon to 4 p.m this weekend.

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Student Protesters Arrested In Iran

By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service

2/25/09

TEHRAN, Feb. 24 — Dozens of Iranian students were arrested Monday after they protested a government decision to rebury troops who died in the IranIraq war on the grounds of a Tehran university, Iranian student Web sites reported. The semiofficial Fars News Agency said that “a few people tried to create problems and prevent the burying of the martyrs” but did not mention arrests.

Students said 70 people were arrested in the altercation at Amirkabir University of Technology. Cellphone clips posted on YouTube show the reburial ceremony and two groups of people shouting and shoving.

Protesters say they fear that the government will use the presence of war graves on campuses as a pretext for official suppression of demonstrations, political or otherwise.

According to Fars News, the leaders of the protest had links to a student group that has organized demonstrations in the past, calling for more democracy but also better living conditions on the prestigious university’s campuses.

Student protests have become rare since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president in 2005 and measures were imposed under which students can be suspended or expelled from state-funded universities if they participate in activities — such as demonstrations — that are deemed “against the system.” There are about 2 million university students in Iran.

On Monday night, friends and family members waited in front of the police station where many of the arrested demonstrators had been brought.

“We were filmed first, and many of us were arrested while leaving the university campus,” said a student who was waiting for a friend’s release, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Amirkabir University’s news Web site, AUTnews.com, which is controlled by the students who organized the demonstration, said that 20 students were transferred to Tehran’s Evin Prison and that the others had been released overnight. It also reported the arrests of five student leaders Tuesday.

When Ahmadinejad became mayor of Tehran in 2003, he proposed that remains of troops killed in the war be reburied at each of the city’s squares as a tribute to their sacrifice. The city council opposed the idea at the time.

Since last year, remains of the fallen have been reburied at two other major universities in the capital, including at Tehran University last month. Groups of students opposed the moves, saying they were intended to influence the atmosphere on campuses. Iranians are expected to behave decorously in the presence of graves of fallen troops.

Monday’s reburial ceremony was widely advertised in Tehran, with big promotional posters lining main streets. The remains of unknown soldiers were driven through downtown Tehran before being brought to their new resting places by student members of the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary force controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, photos published by the semiofficial ISNA news agency show. Plainclothes police officers also filmed the event.

“This is a scheme to create rallying points at universities for student supporters of the government. They would say that anybody who criticizes anything will in fact be criticizing the revered martyrs of the war,” Abdullah Momeni, a former student leader, said in an interview Tuesday. “Universities are the last places in this country with a grain of freedom and the ability to express opinions.”

“The students have deep respect for the martyrs,” Momeni added. “It’s the government that is abusing them for political games.”

The troops who died in the Iran-Iraq conflict, a bitter eight-year-long trench war in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians died, are revered in Iran. They are commemorated with public murals in almost every town, and large cities have special cemeteries devoted to them.

Some students voiced criticism of Monday’s protesters.

“They should not have protested against this,” Yahya Bakhtiari, a journalism student and Basij member, said. “Martyrs are considered to be our benefactors — they have given their lives. The least we can do is respect them. . . . They should be buried in public places, and they should be remembered.”

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Photos of student protest

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