A number of Iranian professors who expressed support for protesting students during the demonstrations that swept Iran after the killing of Mahsa Amini last year have been fired or suspended in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of Amini's death, according to reports by student unions and opposition-affiliated media.
On Saturday, a Telegram channel reportedly affiliated with student unions across Iran stated that two professors from the Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran, Dr. Hamideh Khademi and Dr. Amina Ali, were informed that their contract had been canceled over the phone. The two professors supported protesting students during the protests last year, according to the union.
A Telegram channel reportedly affiliated with a student union at the University of Tehran stated that at least seven professors had their courses removed from course listings without any warning.
According to the student union, the professors in question had been reprimanded before by the recruitment and selection board of the university and were critics of Abdolreza Seif, the head of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities and an advisor to the dean of Tehran University.
Additionally, on Saturday, Dr. Ali Sharifi Zarchi, a professor at Sharif University of Technology, announced in a post on the X platform that he had been dismissed from his position at the university.
While Dr. Saeed Behzadipour, told the Iranian IRNA news agency, that Zarchi had not submitted the proper paperwork to have his contract extended despite repeated reminders from the university, Zarchi published a screenshot of the university's online platform showing that he had submitted the needed paperwork multiple times and the university had neglected to check the requests.
On Friday, Zarchu stated as well that Dr. Dariush Rahmanian, a history associate professor at the University of Tehran, had been suspended and his lessons had been removed from the course schedule for the upcoming semester. "Putting pressure on professors and students is a black stain on the proud history of Tehran University and it must be stopped," wrote Zarchi.
Earlier this month, the student union reported that Dr. Azin Movahed, an associate professor in the university's College of Fine Arts, was suspended from teaching due to the support he expressed for protesting students during the Mahsa Amini protests.
"The university authorities have made the most of the opportunity of the absence of students in the university and purged concerned professors in the summer so that just as they empty the university of protesting students, they also empty the university of professors who did not remain silent against the oppression and were with the students.
Iranian authorities intensifying crackdown on activists ahead of Mahsa Amini anniversary
Iranian authorities have reportedly intensified their crackdown on civil rights activists and family and friends of protesters who were arrested or killed in the protests that swept Iran after Amini was killed by Tehran's "morality police" last September.
Amini’s death in September 2022 sparked nationwide protests often referred to as the "Women, Life, Freedom" protests that swept across Iran for months, only declining in January. Protests have periodically renewed in several locations in the months since then.
فوریصدای تیراندازی، ورودی شمالی دانشگاه شریفاز وضعیت دانشجوهای بازداشتی تو پارکینگ خبری نیست؛ مردم جمع شدن جلوی در اصلی#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/YQQ5IpPZUA— Pouria Zeraati (@pouriazeraati) October 2, 2022
University campuses were some of the main hotspots in the protests, with footage from Iran often showing large protests and heavy clashes with police at university campuses. One particularly harsh crackdown was reported at Sharif University in October, as students were reportedly trapped on campus as security forces fired at them.
The recent wave of dismissals of professors in universities across Iran has also been linked by some to efforts by Iranian officials to install educators aligned with the government and more hardline ideals.