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In new purge, Iran expels independent, Reformist professors

Iran's hard-line government is forcing its own critics out of universities.
Women walk along a mural painting behind which appears a giant billboard bearing a picture of the 'Fattah' hypersonic missile, in Tehran on July 7, 2023. Iran's Revolutionary Guards unveiled an intermediate range ballistic missile on June 6 capable of travelling at hypersonic speeds of up to 15 times the speed of sound, state television reported. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

TEHRAN — The hard-line government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has in recent months initiated an academic purge that has resulted in the expulsion of Reformists and independent professors from universities. It's a move that is reminiscent of the policy of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following the 2009 disputed presidential elections.

The new wave of purges gained momentum following widespread protests that took place in Iran in September 2022 after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's so-called morality police sparked unprecedented demonstrations, leading to the loss of hundreds of Iranian lives at the hands of security forces.

The Student Scientific Association of Allameh Tabatabai University, acknowledging the new policy targeting professors, expressed their concerns in a statement on Feb. 5: "Recently, we have discovered that professors from universities across the country, from Tehran to Kurdistan, have been subjected to 'ceasing cooperation' (which essentially means dismissal)."

These professors were apparently supportive of students who had protested against the government and the Islamic Republic during the unrest.

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