A human rights crisis is occurring in Iran. Following the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman who was brutally murdered while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police,” for disobeying Iran’s strict hijab laws, courageous Iranian women and students began protests despite the high risks of imprisonment, torture and even death.
This morning, forces from the Islamic Republic of Iran surrounded, arrested and opened fire on students at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and at many other universities across the country.
“Sharif University is one of the finest technology universities in the Middle East,” said Sam Behseta, professor and director of the Center for Computational and Applied Mathematics and a native of Iran. “The police were able to surround the building and then go inside. They proceeded to beat and arrest many students.”
Students are sending SOS messages to the outside world, begging for help.
Behseta recently posted a message on Linkedin: “Should an academic remain silent when his entire native country is rising up against brutality and oppression? Quite the contrary, it is a professional responsibility to speak the truth. Solidarity with the incredibly courageous people of Iran.”
“One of the foremost responsibilities of institutions of higher learning is to create an environment in which students, among others, are welcomed to express their opinions,” Behseta continued. “It is appalling to witness students beaten and arrested in Iran for standing up for the rights of the Iranian people.”
“At Cal State Fullerton, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Iran as they speak out and stand up, especially for the rights of Iranian women,” said President Fram Virjee. “Indeed, the entire academic world must express their strongest condemnation of this gross violation of academic and human rights. To our fellow professors, staff and most especially, the students, we hear your messages. We know what you’re rising up against and we applaud your bravery. I, for one, will help amplify your words.”
Behseta said that universities are a common target as the pulse of intellectual thought and resistance against tyranny.
“Iran is a modern country with a young and vibrant population,” he said. “This is a threat to a fanatical dictatorship. One of the first things they did was cut internet lines so information can’t be shared. The regime there is hugely aware of the weight of universities in social movements and so they will do whatever they must to stop them.
“I believe these protests show that Iranian citizens are tired of continuous violations of basic human rights,” said Behseta. “The protestors are incredibly brave. They’ll be arrested, beaten, lose jobs or see their families threatened. We must act in solidarity with the citizens of Iran.”