SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 01, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment


Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 1, 2018, Iranian authorities detained four members of an Iranian student union who held a meeting to negotiate the release of students arrested during recent protests at the University of Tehran.

On December 30, students at the University of Tehran began demonstrating on campus as part of a nationwide protest of difficult economic conditions and government corruption. Security forces clashed violently with the protesters and reportedly arrested 15 students (see report).

On January 1, board members of an Iranian student union held a meeting with the University of Tehran’s chancellor with the goal of negotiating the students’ release. Sources indicate that, after the meeting concluded, authorities detained four of the board members as they left the room. As of this report, their status is unknown.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students in apparent retaliation for their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression — conduct which is protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to protect freedom of expression and freedom and association, and to refrain from arbitrary detention intended to restrict these freedoms. Such actions undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.