Every year, the Iranian people commemorate Student Day on 16 Azar in the Iranian calendar, which coincides with December 6 or 7. Citizens, particularly youths, pay homage to three students at Tehran University who were killed by the Shah’s regime for taking part in a peaceful protest in 1953.
Since the time, their iconic martyrdom became an inspiration for many people to express their hatred against the dictatorship. In the past four decades, the ayatollahs tried to devalue the event and exploit it by holding pro-government ceremonies. However, students have turned state-run ceremonies into a sense to protest officials’ human rights violations, the export of terrorism, and futile nuclear project.
This year, Iranian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tried his chance to mend relations with fed-up youths. On Twitter—which is filtered in Iran by his ministry—, Azari-Jahromi advised students not to take their youth for granted. “Dear students, enjoy your day. A small piece of advice: ‘enjoy your youth,’” he tweeted on December 6.
Azari-Jahromi advised students to appreciate their younghood while he is in charge of censorship, tracking dissidents in social media apps and banning youths from several social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram. Furthermore, as a former agent of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), Azari-Jahromi is responsible for detaining, interrogating, torturing, and committing crimes against many dissidents, especially young people.
Just in June, Azari-Jahromi’s comrades in Urmia city, northwestern Iran, detained a social media and political activist Hamed Ghare-Oghlani who was defending political prisoners. For around three weeks, intelligence agents tortured him to confess to what he had never committed. Neither his family members nor lawyer had access to Ghare-Oghlani until the 2nd Branch of Urmia Revolutionary Court eventually sentenced him to death in early December.
On the same day, Iranian netizens launched a tweetstorm to spare the life of Ghare-Oghlani. Activists with #SaveHamed recounted Ghare-Oghlani’s activities in support of other political prisoners such as Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, two awarded elite students who were detained based on false accusations.
“A youth of Iran’s children is in danger… We need all [to support]… Sharing [the news] is the least job we can do, we should not hesitate; #AmirHosseinMoradi,” he tweeted to save Amir Hossein Moradi, adding, “We should not be indifferent… Tomorrow is our turn; #AliYounesi.”
Iranian netizens also pointed to many youths who were killed by the State Security Forces (SSF), the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and MOIS agents in the past years. They questioned the Censorship Minister about the youth of wrestling champion Navid Afkari, who was executed in early September based on forced confessions. Authorities killed Afkari only for taking part in anti-establishment protests in 2018. Meanwhile, netizens reflected on the orphaned children of Mostafa Salehi, who was also executed for participating in protests.
Death-row #politicalprisoner #NavidAfkari from #Shiraz prison:
"I wrote a letter to judicial officials & said I'm not a murderer. The forensic report, eyewitness testimonies, & evidence proved I was tortured. But, they're looking for a neck to fit their noose" pic.twitter.com/9w8QVUH9sc
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) August 31, 2020
Iranians also questioned Azari-Jahromi about the right of at least 23 children, who were gunned down by the SSF and IRGC during a bloody crackdown on gas protests in November 2019. The Twitter stunt by the Censorship Minister publicly backfired on himself and the Islamic Republic’s 41 years of suppression, bloodshed, and human rights violations.
In other words, the Iranian people expressed that it is impossible to live freely and enjoy gifted talents and opportunities under a religious tyranny, which monopolizes and wastes the country’s human wealth and assets on irresponsible tasks. Iranian youths clearly asserted that they would be able to enjoy their youth only when the dictators are out of power.