AFP: Iran warned on Sunday that the authorities would clamp down on university students who it said were in contact with the US administration and seeking to topple the country’s rulers. TEHRAN, Aug 26, 2007 (AFP) – Iran warned on Sunday that the authorities would clamp down on university students who it said were in contact with the US administration and seeking to topple the country’s rulers.
“We will confront those who are currently studying in universities under the guise of being students and have contact with foreigners and White House statesmen,” Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie said.
“They will be confronted because we believe they are not university students but are seeking to destroy the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
“I want the university students to prevent the infiltration of such people into their circles so they can have their discussions in peace,” he added.
The authorities have in recent months stepped up warnings to students and professors over the dangers of contacts with US academic and political institutions at a time of acute tension over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Iranian universities have long been at the centre of political activism, and 16 students were arrested in July on the anniversary of 1999 student riots sparked when Islamist vigilantes raided university dormitories.
Security forces in May arrested eight students from the Amir Kabir University — long a hotbed of student activism — on suspicion of publishing anti-Islamic caricatures in a student newspaper.
Three of those arrested are still in detention while the rest have since been released.
Mohseni Ejeie’s stern warning to students also comes amid an ongoing investigation into US-Iranians accused of using their contacts with US institutes to back an American drive to bring down Iran’s Islamic system.
Middle East scholar Haleh Esfandiari and urban planning expert Kian Tajbakhsh were both detained in May on charges of harming national security, although Esfandiari was released on bail last week.
Mohseni Ejeie said that “no university student is in detention because of his political ideas,” however.
He said that the three Amir Kabir students still in jail — Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban — had not been released because of the gravity of the charges against them of insulting Islam.