Revolution#135, July 13, 2008

March 8 Organization Supports Iranian Women Students

June 30, 2008. A World to Win News Service. Following are excerpts from a leaflet put out by the March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan) on June 28. It was entitled, “Students around the world: support the protests of Iranian women students against sexual abuse by university-government authorities.”

On June 15, the courageous act of a female student provoked a powerful student protest in the University of Zanjan (320 kilometers northwest of Tehran) against this anti-woman current. The university vice-chancellor had asked her for sexual favors in return for ignoring her negative “morality records” with the Guardian Office of the University and the Disciplinary Committee. Being in a position of authority, a henchman of the Islamic regime officially certified as “faithful of the system,” as the corrupt cronies of the power structure in Iran are called, he was too sure he would never be exposed.

But this time the “man of the system” was caught red-handed right in his “holy” office by students who videoed his not so “holy” sexual advance. The students immediately informed others in the campus and the protests began. Some 3,000 out of the 7,000 students at this university mounted various actions for several days, ending in a sit-in. Government officials quickly travelled to the city to keep the protests from spilling over to other campuses. The students demanded the immediate firing of this vice-chancellor and the university’s president (both cronies of [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad). The students also demanded immunity for the courageous female student who took a great risk to expose this scoundrel. Officials negotiating with the students agreed to all demands in return for an end to the protest. Hundreds of vigilant and alert students warned against ending the protest, but students supporting the so-called “reform faction” of the regime helped trick the protesters into accepting the deal. Immediately after the students ended the strike, the police arrested the woman! The Zanjan prosecutor declared, “Exposing a sin is worse than committing it.”

A year ago, at Razi University in Kermanshah (a Kurdish city in the west), the head of the Guardian Office was exposed for sexual abuse of a woman student. He was arrested and detained for three days, but she is still in prison for “investigation.” Several months ago three female students at Sahand University in the city of Tabriz (the capital of the northern Azerbaijan province) exposed that various university officials, Guardian Office scoundrels and one of the university rectors had pressured them to become their sex slaves. The students of this university staged a successful strike that echoed around the country, forcing the equally scoundrel authorities to promise an “investigation.”  But nothing happened.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran the imposition of religious moral codes through suppressing women is used as “national security” policy for “ensuring social coherence.”  This leads the police to arrest and abuse thousands of women every year. Several months ago a scandal in Tehran brought out the true face of the Islamic morality police: the head of the capital police force, who had launched a hunt against what he called “scoundrel youth” and “immoral women with incomplete hijab” (hair covering), was caught in his house with six naked women whom he was keeping as sex slaves. This scandal came in the wake of intense rivalry among different factions of the ruling structures. He was one of the pious men of Ahmadinejad and the “Leader” [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].

This situation has sparked student protests in a number of Iranian universities, which will spread further. The students demand the dissolution of the Guardian Offices and the firing of government-imposed university officials. They also demand the freedom of the courageous Zanjan University woman student who instead of being driven to commit suicide burst open the accumulated bitterness of all female students. The students demand complete liberty for all victims of sexual abuse in campuses to come to the fore and talk bitterness.

The Islamic Republic is only one among all the other reactionary woman-hating states in a world dominated by imperialism and capitalism. This regime runs Iran through an Islamic theocracy and rampant capitalist globalization—at the heart of both lies the extreme oppression of women. Oppression breaks and stunts the women of Iran, but it also turns them into formidable rebels. We call upon students at campuses around the world to stand with rebelling women students in Iran. Their rebellion represents a great hope for the people of Iran and the women’s movement in Iran. We must not let this flower be killed in the bud!

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