70 Professors Are Arrested in Iran After Meeting With Moussavi

June 25, 2009

In another sign of a growing crackdown on dissenting voices in Iran, 70 university professors were reportedly arrested on Wednesday after meeting with the opposition figure Mir Hussein Moussavi.

According to reports by Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press, news of the arrests came from Kalameh, a Farsi-language Web site affiliated with Mr. Moussavi. The site reported that 70 members of the Islamic Society of University Professors were detained after meeting with Mr. Moussavi on Wednesday afternoon. Their whereabouts are unknown, the reports say.

Earlier in the week, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran published the names of individuals who it says have been killed or detained in Iran since the crackdown that followed the disputed June 12 presidential election. The lists, which the group says are not comprehensive, mention “240 detained persons, including 29 who were detained and then released, as well as 102 political figures, 23 journalists, 79 university students, and seven university faculty who are still in detention.”

University students have been at the forefront of the protests in Iran over the past two weeks and have borne the brunt of some of the harshest tactics used by pro-government militia and vigilante groups. Student dormitories at the University of Tehran were attacked two days after the election, and student activists at universities around the country have been targets of arrest and harassment, observers say.

Even at universities that have not been in session, many students have continued to throng to campuses, which have become de facto opposition bases. Over the next three days, national exams will be held to determine admission to state universities, according to Press TV, a Tehran-based English-language Iranian news network. The network’s Web site reports that as more than 1.2 million students across the country prepare for the crucial exams, Tehran’s deputy police chief has warned that “more than 10,000 security officials would be on duty to tighten security and keep a sharp lookout for civil unrest.” —Aisha Labi