ISTANBUL, Turkey — Hassan Beheshtpoor (not his real name) has been on the run since the summer. He is a Tehran University student whose political activism marked him out several years before this summer’s controversial presidential election triggered an ongoing campaign of opposition to the Iranian government. Beheshtpoor, 22, was arrested and cautioned about his activities back in 2007.
Now, this financially stretched student hailing from a traditional Azeri family from the provinces has been banned from the Tehran University dormitories. Along with yellow stars awarded to troublemakers, on-the-spot beatings by campus militiamen and even arrest, torture and long prison terms, these are the forms of pressure yielded by the regime in its campaign against the most vocal segment of the opposition movement that has surged in Iran over the past six months.
“I heard that the university’s guards identified me in one of their [surveillance] photos and I’m dying from stress,” Beheshtpoor wrote in an email from Tehran. “The government has turned into a desperate dog, it no longer recognizes any limits to its reactions.”
Now living in a house shared with other student activists, Beheshtpoor headed to Qom last week for the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, who was the spiritual leader of the opposition before passing away on Sunday.
“Qom’s streets were full of crowds shouting slogans opposed to the system and the Supreme Leader,… >>>