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 02, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Tehran University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Around January 2, 2022, Tehran University suspended Dr. Azin Movahed, a professor of music at the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University, without pay.

Dr. Movahed’s suspension was reported in the context of widespread dismissals of Iranian academics for their support of student protests that began in September 2022, after the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody of Iran’s “morality police.” Dr. Movahed reported that she had criticized the response of the Iranian regime and security apparatus to the student protests, refusing to teach classes until the safety of students was ensured.

According to a post that the Center for Human Rights in Iran made on Twitter, on January 2, 2023, Tehran University, College of Music students protested the suspensions of Dr. Azin Movahed and other professors for “defending students’ rights to protest for fundamental rights and freedom.”

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the suspension of a faculty member by a higher education institution for exercising her right to freedom of expression. Higher education officials should respect scholars’ rights and refrain from disciplinary actions that restrict or retaliate against nonviolent expressive activity. In addition to the damage to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions aimed to discourage or punish support for student protests on campus undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy and democratic society generally.