A Blog Written By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi -Roozonline, 2007.08.28
This month last year, while meeting with a select group of university students, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “Today, university students must scream at their president asking why are there liberal and secular professors in universities.” Shortly after, a wave of dismissals and retirements revoked the tenures of hundreds of Iran’s most respected professors.
Last week, dozens of prominent university professors were removed from their posts. Aftab website was among the first domestic source to cover the story. Aftab wrote, “As the new academic term begins, some news reports point to the firing and removal of certain university professors who are critical of the administration’s.”
Various websites reported that Drs. Hossein Bashiriyeh, Saeed Shahandeh, Hadi Semati, and Mir Jalaleddin Kazzazi were among the fired professors who received their dismissal notices from Tehran University President Amid Zanjani.
Dr. Hossein Bashiriyeh is known by many as the father of Iran’s political sociology. His work has been a topic of discussion in Iran’s academic circles in recent years, while many credit his theories for contributing to the rise of the reformists. Many of Iran’s political science professors and theorists have studied under Dr. Bashiriyeh.
International relations professor Dr. Hadi Semati has been an influential figure as a source for understanding and analyzing issues related to Iran, especially in academic circles outside the country. Dr. Saeed Shahandeh is an accomplished professor who specializes in Chinese and East Asian studies.
Interestingly, all three professors had spent a year outside Iran doing research or teaching. Now they all have been fired for their yearlong absence. They have been accused of overstaying their research terms outside Iran for one or two additional semesters.
In a related story, the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education passed a resolution last week requiring professors who plan to travel outside the country to report their travel plans to the university’s security office.
Baztab website reported, “According to recent guidelines, university professors are required to report their travel plans, whether they are going for research or teaching purposes, to their respective university’s security office.”
According to Baztab, traveling professors are required to report their travel plans regardless of whether the trip is paid by the university or not.
The new wave of dismissals follows recent accusations by intelligence and security officers that university professors and academic figures are involved in instigating a “velvet revolution” in the Islamic Republic.