Much of the international public and media consider mass protests in Iran to have ended, because images of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators no longer appear on TV screens and front pages, as they did in June and July. But the protest movement is alive and continues to challenge the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, and to demand fundamental rights.
At the forefront of this movement are university students. Iranian campuses are scenes of daily protests. Monday, December 7, is the National Student Day in Iran. It commemorates events back in 1953, when few months after a CIA-backed coup restored the monarchy at the expense of overthrowing the democratic government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq. On December 7, 1953, military forces put down student protests at Tehran University, killing three student leaders. Ever since, December 7 has been the symbol of standing up to tyrannical rule and dictatorship.
This year, the civil rights movement in Iran is seizing on the historical importance of this day to once more stage protests. In response, security and intelligence forces are rounding up and detaining student leaders throughout the country. But all signs indicate that the wider student body is determined to express itself in opposition to the increasingly repressive rule and emerging military dictatorship.
In solidarity with the student movement and the broader ongoing civil rights movement, human rights activists and …