Students Violently Attacked, Arrested by Security Forces as Protests in Iran Spread

Fears of Worsening Violence as Protests Spread to Over 100 Universities

October 3, 2022—On Sunday night, October 2, 2022, after 15 days of nationwide protests in Iran following the death in state custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, security and police forces brutally suppressed peaceful protests by hundreds of students at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, beating, shooting with pellets, tear gassing, and arresting large numbers of students.

“A government that beats and attacks its own children for peacefully protesting egregious state abuses is one that has lost all connection to its people, all respect for the law, and any semblance of humanity,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“The Islamic Republic’s brutal violence, which the authorities in Iran clearly believe they can carry out with impunity, must be internationally condemned in the strongest terms and at the highest levels of state,” Ghaemi added.

According to published reports, video clips, and witnesses, the severity of the suppression of Sharif students has been more intense than the bloody crackdown on students in 1999, and 2009, and it is feared that with the continuation of the regime’s tactics, we will witness the bloodiest repression of the Iranian student movement in the history of the Islamic Republic.

In recent days, there have been protests in more than 100 universities, along with classroom boycotts by students, and some professors. But the severity of the crackdown on Sharif University students on October 2, and the high number of arrests, indicate the scope and intensity of those protests.

CHRI condemns in the strongest terms the unlawful and violent suppression of protests in universities across Iran, including Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology, and calls on the Islamic Republic to stop the arbitrary and unlawful arrest of protesting students, release all detained protesters, and allow students to hold demonstrations without any threat or fear of arbitrary arrest or violence.

CHRI also calls on all professors, academics and their affiliated institutions around the world to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran’s brutal violence against Iranian students and to strongly support their colleagues and students in Iran.

In addition, CHRI urges government leaders worldwide and all relevant UN officials and bodies to publicly and forcefully condemn the Islamic Republic’s egregious and unlawful violence against the students and other protesters across Iran.

What Happened at Sharif University of Technology?

Based on information received by CHRI, on Saturday, October 2nd, Sharif students started silent sit-ins in all the departmental buildings, holding signs in protest against the arrest and imprisonment of students. A large number of students also boycotted classes to demand that their fellow students be freed.

The protests continued on Sunday: Around 3:00 p.m., a gathering was held at the main entrance of the university. At the same time, a rally took place inside the campus by a group of students singing revolutionary songs and moving towards the main entrance.

In less than two hours, the number of military-security forces grew significantly in the streets around the university, including “NOPO” forces (Persian acronym for “Special State Police Force”), as well as police units, plain-clothed agents linked with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and so-called “Imam Ali security units.”

With their increased presence around the university, the security forces encircled the students. The climate became increasingly tense and most of the students who wanted to exit the campus were arrested by the security forces.

Heavy Shooting Heard, Students Trying to Leave Shot with Paintballs, Arrested

In a video released on social media Sunday evening, heavy shooting could be heard near the university’s northern entrance, known as the Energy Gate.

The University Students Trade Unions Council (USTUC), the main national students’ organization, posted this report as the events were unfolding: “The Energy Gate is surrounded by armed forces in uniforms near several nearby vans. Several university professors at the gate are trying to protect the students from being arrested. The security forces have also been deployed on Ghasemi Street overlooking the university, and according to witnesses, several students have been arrested there.”

It also reported that any student trying to leave the university was shot with paintballs and then arrested.

In the meantime, a large group of students moved towards the building housing the university’s Department of Management and Economics, but in the parking lot they were confronted by security forces on motorcycles, who attacked and fired plastic bullets. A video published by the USTUC at about 8:00 p.m. in Tehran, clearly shows the chaos as students try to escape the state’s violence.

Tasnim news agency, which is close to the Islamic Republic’s security establishment, reported around 8:30 p.m. that Science Minister Mohammad Ali Zolfigol went to Sharif University and had a conversation with officials and police forces around the university. “The Sharif University area is now calm and students are leaving the university,” the report claimed.

A clip shows Sharif students telling the minister during his visit that shotguns and tear gas were fired at them and that they are worried about people who are trapped inside the university.

The minister asks the students not to take photos and videos of the conversations and send them to foreign media because that would be “dishonorable.” In response, one of the students says: “Is it honorable to beat up the students?”

The minister responds, “By canceling classes, the students are responsible for losses to the treasury,” to which a student said: “Isn’t money being spent on students in prison too?”

Students Arrested, Covered with Bags, Beaten, Taken to Unknown Locations

Also, there were reports of the security forces raiding the university’s Dormitory No. 2, arresting students, covering them with plastic bags, beating them and taking them to unknown locations.

In the final hours of Sunday night, the student protests reached outside the university and the families of many students who were arrested, gathered in the streets, expressing their support for the students.

In a report shortly after midnight, the official Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, acknowledged the “massive gathering of people” near Sharif University and the use of tear gas by the police to disperse the people and added that “all the students left the university.”

A statement issued by Sharif’s Islamic Students Association Sunday night estimated the number of those arrested at more than 30.

“At this critical time, the Islamic Association of Sharif University Students considers it a duty to call on all to unite and ask all the students and professors of universities across the country to close their classes as a sign of solidarity with the professors and students of Sharif University,” the Association said in its statement. “To recover lost dignity, the Islamic Association will not hesitate to pay any cost.”

Meanwhile on Monday the authorities announced that all university classes will be held online until further notice.

So far, no official figures have been given on the number of arrests or injuries requiring hospitalization.

However, according to various reports, CHRI estimates that as of October 3, more than 90 students have been arrested throughout the country. One student, Hosseinali Kia, died from bullet fire during protests at Mazandaran University in northern Iran on September 26th.

Also, on September 30, Prof. Mohammad Sadegh Akhoondi, who was among 14 academics from the Medical Sciences University in Tehran who signed a letter condemning the student arrests, was taken into custody.

Student Protests Spread Across Iran

As of October 1, students in 111 universities have announced they have joined the national strike by boycotting classes.

The student protests began days after the death of Mahsa Amini, who died on September 16 following a blow to her head in police custody, after she was arrested by Iran’s “morality” police for allegedly improper hijab. The first student protest gathering was on September 18 at Tehran University’s College of Fine Arts, during which candles were lit in Amini’s memory. Other university campuses quickly joined the protest.

On September 19, a large group of students who had gathered in Tehran’s Amirkabir University, protesting Amini’s killing, and systematic repression in the country, were attacked by Basij militia forces. On the same day, many more universities in Tehran saw student protests: Alzahra, Shahid Beheshti, Allameh Tabataba’i, as well as the Art University. In addition, students at Isfahan University started their demonstrations.

By September 20, student demonstrations spread to many universities nationwide, notably in Yazd and Tabriz.

With the continuation of massive popular protests and participation of a large number of universities, violent state suppression of the protests began, resulting in an unprecedented number of student arrests.

On September 21, after holding a protest rally in Tehran University, 30 students were arrested as they were leaving the campus, followed by arrests at other universities, carried out by the security forces, who raided the homes of students.

On September 24, the USTUC reported that officers fired pellets during a student gathering at Tehran University. Officers initially blocked the university’s gate at 16 Azar Street to prevent students from entering and then brutally attacked with batons, arresting about 30 to 40 students and putting them into six vans.

On the same day, Sharif students held a large rally in the university grounds and marched to the main gate, and were confronted with a large number of Basij forces trying to disrupt the gathering and record images of the protesters. At the end of the rally, when the students were about to leave the university, they were attacked by the security forces and a number were arrested.

As the arrests intensified, on September 26, a Twitter storm started in support of the arrested students, followed by more universities announcing that they are joining nationwide student strikes.

Over 200 Professors Across Iran Condemn the Arrest of Students

On September 29th, more than 200 university professors strongly condemned the widespread arrest of students and warned that holding classes was impossible:

They said in their statement: “While inviting all our colleagues to express their opinions and take a stand in defense of struggles against tyranny, in seeking justice and freedom, we consider it necessary to act on our social responsibility toward our best university students [in detention]. Therefore, given the current inflamed climate in the universities and the rightful concerns of classmates, parents and professors about the fate of those arrested… we are extremely worried about their health and fate and demand their release and return to class as soon as possible. Otherwise, the inflamed climate and anxiety will continue on campuses and normality will not return to the universities.”

The confirmed names of students arrested so far are as follows:

  1. Bardia Shakouri-Fard, University of Tehran
  2. Mohammad Nouri, University of Tehran
  3. Kamyar Sharifi, University of Tehran
  4. Vahid Farahani, University of Tehran
  5. Azin Saeidi-Nasab,University of Tehran
  6. Sahand Mortazavi, University of Tehran
  7. Majid Emamverdi, University of Tehran
  8. Shiva Mousazadeh, University of Tehran
  9. Mohammad Gholamzadeh, University of Tehran
  10. Soroush Ahmadi, University of Tehran
  11. Aminsalar Salajegheh, University of Tehran
  12. Benyamin Moghadasi, i University of Tehran
  13. Nima Soltan, arts University of Tehran
  14. Ramin Kiani, University of Tehran
  15. Mehdi Kouhnavard, University of Tehran
  16. Amirhossein Ghorbanzadeh, University of Tehran
  17. Reza Kianipour, University of Tehran
  18. Roham Davoudi, University of Tehran
  19. Ali Hedayativardi, University of Tehran
  20. Sara Naderi, University of Tehran
  21. Maedeh Amirsiafi, University of Tehran
  22. Ali Shorvazi, University of Tehran
  23. Ali Daei Nasseri, University of Tehran
  24. Alborz Nezami, University of Tehran
  25. Ali Mansouri, University of Tehran
  26. Mehdi Abolghasembeigi, University of Tehran
  27. Mostafa Madani, University of Tehran
  28. Ali Taheri University of Tehran
  29. Behnam Heydari University of Tehran
  30. Armin Jalali Roshan, Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran)
  31. Behrouz Shirbeighi, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  32. Farhad Shoja Heydari, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  33. Zahra Moini, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  34. Morteza Ghanbari, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  35. Shahu Bayazidi, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  36. Mohammad Hossein Shoaie, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  37. Ali Hashemian,Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  38. Amin Tohidi; Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  39. Mehrdad Arandan, Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  40. Javad Azad , Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  41. Adel Mansor , Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  42. Melika Gharegozlou , Allameh Tabatabai University (Tehran)
  43. Zahra Koshkaki; Tehran University of Teacher Training (Tarbiat Modares)
  44. Elmira Bahmani,Tehran University of Teacher Training (Tarbiat Modares)
  45. Ahmed Pirouznia, Tehran University of Teacher Training (Tarbiat Modares)
  46. Mohsen Amiri,Tehran University of Teacher Training (Tarbiat Modares)
  47. Mehdi Bagherzadeh,Islamic Azad University (Tehran):
  48. Pedram Moini, Islamic Azad University (Tehran):
  49. Shahriar Shams, Islamic Azad University (Tehran):
  50. Sadra Salimjou, Islamic Azad University (Tehran):
  51. Javad Shaker; Tehran Sharif University of Technology
  52. Mohammadreza Lotfalizadeh; Tehran Sharif University of Technology
  53. Mohammad Hossein Noorian; Tehran Sharif University of Technology
  54. Nima Azar, Tehran Sharif University of Technology
  55. Alireza Azad Mahdi Mohammadi Sharif University of Technology
  56. Yousef Teymouri, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  57. Ramtin Movasagh;Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  58. Ssetayesh Damanafshan, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  59. Mohammad Saleh Homayouni, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  60. Mehrab Kamali, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  61. Shahriyar Morabbi, Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  62. Mehrab Mehri Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  63. Mehdi Tajalaei Shahid Beheshti University (Tehran)
  64. Tahereh Gounehie; Medical Sciences University (Tehran)
  65. Hadi Alizadeh, Medical Sciences University (Tehran)
  66. Mohammad Reza Masoudi, Islamic Revolution University (Tehran)
  67. Hadi Amirmohseni, Imam Sadegh University (Tehran)
  68. Rahi Lorakinejad; Tehran University of Science and Technology
  69. Ali Moslemi, Tehran University of Science and Technology
  70. Arad Rostamzad, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University (Tehran)
  71. Mahdi Movahedi, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University (Tehran)
  72. Fatemeh Rashidi, Alzahra University (Tehran)
  73. Maedeh Delbari, Alzahra University (Tehran)
  74. Sepideh Navabi, Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  75. Helia Karimnejad, Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  76. Masoud Niazi, Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  77. Kian Sadraei, Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  78. Sirvan Soleimani, Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  79. Kian Sadraie,Kharazmi University (Tehran)
  80. Negin Aramesh, Persian Language and Literature University (Tehran)
  81. Behnam Darabi, Soura University of Tehran
  82. Hasan Mohammad-Panah, Ivanaki University in Garmsar (Tehran province)
  83. Ahmadreza Afshar, University of Islamic Arts (Tabriz)
  84. Mohsen Nikmanesh, University of Islamic Arts (Tabriz)
  85. Mohammad Arab, Noshirvani University of Babol
  86. Maedeh Jamal Livani, Noshirvani University of Babol
  87. Alireza Saberian, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences
  88. Ali Jalilian Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
  89. Sepehr Basami Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
  90. Mohammad Amin Mosavi Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
  91. Sajad Jiraei University of Judicial Sciences and Administrative Services
  92. Karamollah Soleimani; University of Kashan
  93. Alireza Ghamgosar, University of Kashan
  94. Banafsheh Kamali, Universities in Yazd
  95. Mohammad Pardehbaf, Universities in Yazd
  96. Ali Mohammad Doost-Hosseini, Universities in Yazd
  97. Reyhaneh Nasseri, University of Shiraz
  98. Mahdyar Gerami, University of Shiraz
  99. Vahid Mousavi, University of Shiraz
  100. Homan Mohammadizadeh, Chamran University (Ahvaz)
  101. Sepideh Ahmadkhani, University of Zanjan
  102. Adele Shibani, University of Gilan
  103. Fardin Nazari, University of Gilan
  104. Mohammad Reza Rajabi, Islamic Azad University in Rasht.
  105. Hossein Kaveh, Gorgan University of Medical Sciences;
  106. Salar Jahdkaran, Golestan University.
  107. Bavan Lotfi, Oroumiyeh University.
  108. Shakiba Houshyar, Razi University (Kermanshah)
  109. Ali Rouzi Razi University (Kermanshah)
  110. Khabat Veisi, Payam Noor University ( Marivan)
  111. Mohsen Nikmanesh University of Tabriz,
  112. Yahya Patshakpour University of Kerman)
  113. Anahita Hashemipour Tehran the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences
  114. Ahmad Nezamipour Islamic Azad University Qazvin Branch
  115. Mohammad Reza Mansouri University of Shiraz
  116. Amir Azizi Islamic Azad University (Tehran)