Three More Faculty Members Dismissed for Their Political Orientation
One week after the dismissal of Dr. Morteza Mardiha from his faculty post at Allameh Tabatabee University, the dismissal of two Elm-o-San’at University professors adds a new dimension to the campaign to dismiss faculty members who have different viewpoints from the government, or who have supported students during student protests. In a continuing trend to implement the government’s policies regarding oversight and control of Iranian universities, Seyed Ali Asghar Beheshti and Mohammad Shahri of Elm-o-San’at University received written dismissal notices from their faculty positions.
The dismissals were the first of their kind to take place after Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo’s March 4th statements, in which he announced that faculty members who do not “share the regime’s direction,” and who do not have “practical commitment to velayat-e faghih” will be dismissed. “We do not need some faculty members whose tendencies and actions are not in coordination with the Islamic Republic regime,” stated Daneshjoo. The announcement is considered the most explicit statement justifying depriving faculty members from their positions due to their political viewpoints. Daneshjou did not provide any explanations about what constitutes “sharing the regime’s direction.”
According to Kaleme Web site, Seyed Ali Asghar Beheshti Shirazi, an experienced and prominent professor of telecommunications at Elm-o-San’at University, and Professor Mohammad Shahri, a former electrical engineering professor, both of whom were employed in the Electrical Engineering Research Center, were dismissed yesterday morning when they received written notices.
The two professors had written a letter earlier, protesting the heavy and unprecedented sentences the University’s Disciplinary Committee had issued the students, supporting the students and objecting to the December 28, 2009 entry of plainclothes forces into the campus and beatings of students.
A short time ago, Professor Touraj Mohammadi, Chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department, resigned from his position after receiving immense pressure from the University after he had objected to the University’s policies vis a vis the students.
Prior to this, a “mandatory faculty retirement plan,” which had been put into effect after the presidential elections to implement the policies of pressure and political control over the universities forced more than 50 distinguished professors into retirement or dismissal. Professors such as Amir Nasser Katouzian, Karim Mojtahedi, Ali Sheikholeslami, Hasan Basharieh, Mahmoud Erfani, Abolghasem Gorji, Mohammad Ashuri, Jamshid Momtaz, Mohammad Reza Shafiee Kadkani, Reza Davari, and several others were dismissed following the implementation of this political project by administrative departments of universities.
Last week, in another confrontation by university authorities, Morteza Mardiha, a philosophy professor at Allameh Tabatabaee University received his dismissal notice. Morteza Mardiha and Saba Vasefi, a researcher and professor at Shahid Beheshti University were deprived from teaching on January 20, 2010. Mardiha is a prominent political philosophy expert in Iran. The decision to dismiss him was made in the Philosophy Unit of College of Literature after continuous pressure from the University Chancellor.
Mardiha was a ladder-rank faculty member of Allameh Tabatabaee University and his deprivation of teaching lacks legal grounds. Saba Vasefi, a researcher, human rights activist, and Shahid Beheshti University faculty member has also been deprived from teaching and dismissed. Vasefi is the third women’s movement activist who has been dismissed from work over the past few months. So far 12 distinguished faculty members of Allameh Tabatabaee University’s Economics Department have been forced into retirement by orders of the Administration Unit of the University.