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Minister Claims Raisi Mandated Protection of Rights in Mass Academic Dismissals

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Iranian Science Minister, Mohammad Ali Zolfigol, claims that the President Ebrahim Raisi had instructed him to ensure no rights were violated in the dismissal of university professors.

His claim contrasts the realities observed during Raisi’s tenure, where dozens of professors were either dismissed or forcibly retired under a systematic suppression of academic freedom under his rule.

Compounding the situation, reports from the period detail the firing and enforced retirement of professors who did not align with the government’s ideologies. In several instances, affected professors took to publishing documents online that evidenced their dismissals or suspensions, bringing to light the oppressive tactics employed by Raisi’s administration.

Further underscoring the severity of government interference, the secretary of the union of Iran’s university professors announced earlier this month that the Ministry of Science had been effectively sidelined. According to the secretary, decision-making for Iranian universities had been usurped by various other state-controlled security entities.

Karen Abrinia remarked that government interventions at universities have alarmingly increased. Since the onset of the Woman, Life, Freedom protests in 2022, it is estimated that about 200 university professors have faced severe restrictions from pay freezes to being forced to sign apologies for supporting protests and pledging loyalty to the regime.