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: August 29, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 29, 2023, it was reported that the University of Tehran had dismissed seven professors from the Faculty of Literature for their support of students protesting in the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement.

The dismissed professors included Vahid Eidgah, Lili Varharam, Javad Bushra, Qasim Azizi, Milad Azimi, Dariush Rahmanian and Hossein Mesbahian.

According to the university’s Student Guild Council, the administration fired all seven professors without providing prior notice and was attributed to changes in the allocation of courses. This dismissal comes amid indications that the Iranian government is cleansing universities of dissent.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a higher education institution dismissing members of the faculty in apparent retaliation for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Higher education officials should respect scholars’ exercise of such rights and refrain from disciplinary actions that punish or deter nonviolent expressive activity. Moreover, higher education authorities have an obligation to ensure due process, transparency, and fairness when engaging in disciplinary action. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and and harms related higher education values including autonomy and social responsibility.