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Unrest in Iran

The clerical regime in Iran is again facing unrest at home. At the University of Tehran, hundreds of students demonstrated against the forced retirement of several professors and the expulsion of politically active students. They also protested the arrest of renowned Iranian scholar Ramin Jahanbegloo. Student leaders reported that more than a dozen demonstrators were taken away by the Basij, a government-sanctioned vigilante group.

Students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University held demonstrations to protest Basij interference in elections for the Islamic Students Association, a pro-reform group. Basij members reportedly prevented elected student representatives from participating in university councils. Student protestors were quoted shouting, "Death to reactionaries and dictatorship!" and "We don't want the Islam of the Taleban!"

The Reuters news agency quoted student leader Abdollah Momeni as saying that the protests stemmed from the "limitations imposed on universities and political students" after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated as president in November 2005. "Some active students have been expelled and some students face mass summons before disciplinary committees," Mr. Momeni said.

The Iranian government was confronted earlier with large protests by members of the ethnic Azeri minority in Tabriz and other towns in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. And Reuters reported "the most vociferous May Day demonstration the Islamic state has seen in years."

The dissatisfaction and unrest show the gulf between the Iranian government and the Iranian people. Here is U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack:

"Iranians continue to struggle for democracy, freedom, and other rights denied them by an autocratic and repressive government. We salute the efforts of the many in Iran – women, students, journalists, and others – to secure their rights."

President George W. Bush says, "America looks forward to the day when our nation can be closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.