The more rigorous review system is now causing delays in announcing the results of applicants to the private university system in Iran, the ILNA news agency said.

It reported on September 7: “Based on the regulation adopted by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 1998, the status of applicants for graduate schools must be reviewed by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.”

The news agency quoted an ‘informed source’ as saying: “The review of applicants’ cases this year is taking place with much more accuracy. This is due to issues that arose during the impeachment of the minister of science this year.”

The science minister was sacked by the regime’s parliament on August 2, 2014, highlighting the growing concern within the Iranian regime over students demanding more freedom.

During the impeachment, MPs expressed concerns about the increasing activities of students opposed to the regime.

One MP warned that during the past year, the PMOI (MEK) have distributed publications in the universities.

And former science minister Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi expressed his opposition to the trend of allowing supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran )(PMOI/MEK) and other opponents of the regime to regain access to Iran’s universities, the state-run Tasnim News Agency reported on August 18.

According to Zahedi, more than 140 ‘starred students’ – those who have been barred from continuing their education because of their opposition to the regime – had recently returned to universities.

He said: “Today, the talks are about those who entered postgraduate Masters and PhD programs but were disqualified because of their affiliation with Monafeqin [- the derogatory term the Iranian regime uses to refer to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)], Arab people and other opposition groups.”

In the past year, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has also expressed concern over the politicization of Iranian universities, and warned government officials against contributing to it.

Zahedi added: “The Supreme Leader has strongly emphasized on different occasions, especially during the past year, that the ministry of science and universities should not be an arena for political parties.”