(PRWEB) June 22, 2003
June 20, 2003- Following 10 days of student protests and violence initiated against them by pressure groups, a group of Iranian students and scholars in the Boston Area are expressing their concern for their safety by signing a petition, declaring their support of the Iranian students' right to protest.
The protests erupted on June 10th, when students objected to the privatization of public universities. In a manner of hours a peaceful demonstration on student life issues was attacked by vigilante and pressure groups, consequently resulting in more than 10 days of violence against students. Two students have been confirmed dead and hundreds have been injured and arrested, while the pressure groups initiating the attacks are roaming freely.
The petition urges the government of Iran, and law enforcement officials to ensure the safety and security of students and to protect their right to express their opinions peacefully, regardless of the content of their demands and their political ambitions. The group also expressed its support the unalienable rights of Iranian students in Iran to freedom of speech and to peaceful protest and strongly condemns and deplores any violence perpetrated against students. The list of signatories of the petition includes graduate students and researchers of Iranian descent at MIT, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Boston University, Brandeis University and Clark University. The text of the petition can be viewed at http://www.petitiononline.com/studiran
Ali Mostashari, a graduate student and the President of the Iranian Studies Group at MIT emphasized the joint effort as an important step for the Iranian academic community, in coming together to support their fellow students and academics in Iran. "While the signatories represent a wide range of political beliefs, we all agree that the students have the right to express their opinions on issues affecting their lives and those of the Iranian people. Violence has never been able to subdue the desire for freedom of speech, and has never provided an answer." Mostashari says that the Iranian academic community watches with great concern as the events in Iran unfold. "Essentially it is the people of Iran who will decide the future of the country. Students have always been at the forefront of social conciousness in Iran and will continue to play that role. It is hard to imagine that violence against them will be able to change that."