Top security and intelligence officials of the Iranian regime have held secret meetings to devise new strategies to suppress universities and students, according to documents published by “GhyamSarnegouni,” a dissident group that recently infiltrated the servers of the Iranian regime’s presidency.
The documents contain the transcript of confidential and highly classified meetings held by the committees of the Thar-Allah Headquarters and offer a rare glimpse into the decision-making processes within the regime’s most important security and intelligence institutions, highlighting the regime’s deep-seated apprehension and fear of the student population.
One of the revealed meetings documented the decision to compile a list of prominent dissident students and determine appropriate measures to handle them. This included implementing measures such as banning protesting students from entering university campuses, revoking their access to welfare facilities, and canceling the granting of academic degrees to them.
During another documented meeting, it was decided that universities should sever their collaboration with professors deemed problematic by the regime. The security entity operating under the Ministry of Science was instructed to provide the names of these professors to the intelligence deputy of the Thar-Allah Headquarters within a maximum of three days.
The leaked documents provide insight into the activities of the security intelligence committee responsible for suppressing universities. Within these documents, reports of seven joint meetings are detailed, along with secret correspondence from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Thar-Allah Headquarters.
The revelations indicate that a wide range of repressive institutions, including the student Basij, security forces, intelligence ministry, and the IRGC, are all involved in the repression of students. Notably, the documents highlight the significant role played by the IRGC in the suppression of student activism and dissent.
In addition to the documented decisions and actions mentioned earlier, the regime employs various other tactics to suppress students and control their activities. Two notable methods include the establishment of propaganda cores within student dormitories, such as the “Smile to Iran” and “Celebrating Students’ Marriages” Jihadi groups. These groups serve as vehicles for propagating the regime’s narratives and ideologies among the student population.
Furthermore, there has been an increase in the deployment of surveillance cameras, particularly within dormitory areas. This heightened surveillance aims to monitor and restrict student movements, fostering an atmosphere of constant observation and control.
According to the leaked documents, the regime has issued orders for the representative of the supreme leader in universities, aided by Basiji students, to produce propaganda documentaries. The purpose of these documentaries is to manipulate and brainwash students, distorting the truth regarding recent popular protests. The Thar-Allah Headquarters has allocated a specific budget to support this project.
According to the disclosed documents, it is apparent that several intelligence organizations, including the Tehran Provincial Intelligence Organization, Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization, Thar-Allah Headquarters Information Deputy, and Faraja Intelligence Organization, have been tasked with providing a comprehensive list of arrested students.
This list encompasses individuals who have received sentencing, those who have been released on bail, and those who are still in custody. The purpose of compiling this list is to present the cases of these students to the university disciplinary committees.
In recent years, Iran has been marred by a troubling wave of repression targeting its universities and students, which has intensified after the recent protests in 2022. The Iranian regime’s systematic efforts to control academic institutions and suppress student dissent have raised significant concerns both domestically and internationally.
The repression of universities and students in Iran is not a new phenomenon; it has roots in the country’s history. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the regime sought to establish a strict religious and ideological framework, which gradually led to increased control over the higher education sector—the subsequent decades witnessed a series of policies and actions that curtailed academic freedom and suppressed student activism.
Thus, the regime has implemented various measures to control and limit academic freedom within universities. These include the imposition of strict dress codes, the purging of faculty members deemed politically undesirable, and the introduction of restrictive curricula that prioritize ideological indoctrination over critical thinking and academic inquiry. Such policies have stifled intellectual diversity and hindered the pursuit of knowledge within Iran’s higher education institutions.
The recent weeks have seen several concerning repressive measures taking place within universities in Iran. Some of these measures include:
- At Tehran University of Arts, security personnel have engaged in an illegal process of banning 40 female students from entering the university. These students, hailing from various faculties, have been targeted without proper justification or due process.
- More than 20 students residing in the Jalal Al-Ahmad married dormitory at the University of Tehran have received harsh sentences, including a half-year temporary ban from education, which can effectively extend to years. These sentences are based on charges of causing disturbance and interrupting university affairs.
- Noshirvani Babol University has established a committee called the Hadi Committee, claiming to be for student welfare. However, the committee’s assigned tasks include intrusive measures such as examining and assessing students’ profile photos on online platforms and even scrutinizing the color of their shoes and socks.
- Following protests by students of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences against widespread cases of poisoning among students, the Disciplinary Council of the Ministry of Health responded by issuing heavy suspension and exclusion orders against a significant number of students.
- As decreed by the disciplinary committee, eight medical students from Tabriz University have been subjected to long-term suspensions and academic exile to various cities, including Ahvaz, Semnan, Kashan, Urmia, and Ardabil.