Despite dropping out of major world headlines, the Iranian pro-democracy dissident movement is still active. New anti-
Some of the students have already been sentenced to prison terms or lashings.
regime protests are slated for December 7, Iran's official Student Day. In a preemptive crackdown, the Islamic Republic has been arresting students across the country.
According to figures from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), dozens of Iranian university students have been arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted this month. Students have been detained by police throughout Iran, including at four separate academic institutions in the capital Tehran. In many cases, the authorities are not releasing any information about those individuals taken into custody.
Some of the students have already been sentenced to prison terms or lashings. Other students have been expelled from their universities or subjected to university disciplinary procedures due to their alleged anti-regime activities.
ICHRI links the new crackdown to protests expected on December 7.
"In order to silence the student movement, a wholesale crackdown on Iranian students is underway, which not only violates their rights, but also disrupts their studies and the lives of their families," said Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesperson for the ICHRI.
Iranian citizens initially took to the streets in mass numbers in the aftermath of Iran's tenth presidential election, held June 12, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in what opponents say was a planned fraud. Iranian authorities deployed police and elite Basij militia forces, as well as imported Hizbullah and Hamas units, to violently put down the protests, which had taken on a broadly anti-regime tone. According to pro-democracy sources, hundreds of people were killed by Iranian government forces, with thousands of others injured. Smaller anti-Islamic Republic protests and activities have continued sporadically and in different forms for the past five months, despite the arrests and trials of many dissidents.
According to the United Persian Organization (UPO), an organization promoting regime change in Iran, the "people of Iran are beyond disputed election results. They demand an Iran without theocracy, without [the] Islamic Republic." The UPO, which is promoting mass participation in the December protests, says that "Iranians from all walks of life will join students in demonstrations all across Iran to demand freedom, democracy and secularism, and an end to the current regime."
The UPO and Iranian pro-democracy movement activists inside and outside Iran are calling on people around the world to hold rallies in support of the Iranian dissidents on December 7. "Americans, Europeans, Asians and Africans - we all have to stand behind [the] Iranian people. It is our duty as human beings," UPO declared. In particular, university students have been called upon to hold rallies on their campuses worldwide.