100+ Academics Across Globe Sign Letter Protesting Firing of Professors in Iran
Universities Not Escaping Intensifying Repression in Islamic Republic
In yet another reflection of intensifying repression in the Islamic Republic, a large group of prominent scholars and academics from around the globe have written a letter in protest against the firing of several professors from universities in Iran “for political reasons.”
The letter by the academics rejected any legitimate reason for their dismissal, stating “It is the politics of intolerance and a lack of respect for academic freedom that have prompted their unjustified terminations.”
The letter was signed by 105* professors from academic institutions across the U.S., including leading universities such as Yale, Columbia and John Hopkins University, as well as universities in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, India, Turkey and Qatar.
The letter noted the damage the lack of freedom of expression is inflicting on Iran, “a country that has suffered so much from brain drain and ever shrinking body of experienced scholarly personnel.”
**The letter does not mention the names and institutional affiliations of the dismissed university professors, but the Scientific Association of the University of Tehran has issued a statement protesting the expulsion of Dr. Arash Abazari from the Department of Philosophy at the Sharif University of Technology. Also, the Jamaran news website announced the dismissal of Dr. Fazeli, professor of sociology at Shahid Beheshti University. The number of dismissed professors exceeds these two, and Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) is investigating the dismissals to shed further light on the situation.
One signatory, Dr. Kazem Alamdari from California State University, said to CHRI, “we did not want to jeopardize [the dismissed professors’] situation [but] we want to circulate this news because we believe putting the authorities under public pressure is more effective than anything else.”
Scholars and academics are highly revered in Iran; knowledge of the professors’ dismissals is likely to result in public criticism.
The letter is reprinted in full below.
In protest against the unjustified dismissal of colleagues in Iran:
We write this letter in protest of the recent dismissal of several professors at different institutions of higher learning in the country. The dismissal of these professors are not isolated incidents, as they seem coordinated nationwide — a recurrent phenomenon in contemporary Iran, especially in recent years.
Considering the background of those affected, the dismissals cannot be justified on academic grounds. Insufficiency of scholarship seems to have had no bearing on the decision of the administrators at these institutions to end their employment. It is the politics of intolerance and a lack of respect for academic freedom that have prompted their unjustified terminations.
It is widely recognized that the services of social scientists and humanities scholars are critical in addressing some of the most fundamental issues and persistent social problems besieging human societies, the Iranian in particular. Such services, however, will come to fruition and bear fruit only when scholars are left unconstrained by political exigencies and unfettered by ill-thought policies of “political correctness.” If this is a universal principle for scholarly productivity anywhere, it is even more urgent in Iran, a country that has suffered so much from brain drain and ever shrinking body of experienced scholarly personnel.
We demand that all dismissed professors be unconditionally reinstated immediately so that they continue their productive services to their students, institutions, and broader community.
- Abghari, Shahla Professor of Microbiology, Life University, Atlanta, Georgia
- Abghari, Siavash Professor of Finance, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia
- Abrahamian, Ervand Professor Emeritus, City Univ of New York
- Adib-Moghaddam, Arshin University of London
- Afary, Janet University of California, Santa Barbara
- Afshari, Ali Adjunct faculty in System engineering department of Engineering and Applied Science at George Washington University
- Afshari, Reza Professor Emeritus of History and Human Rights, Pace University
- Akbari, Hamid Professor of Management, Carroll University, Wisconsin
- Akhavi, Shahrough, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
- Alamdari, Kazem California State University, Northridge
- Amanat, Abbas William Sumner Professor Emeritus of History, Yale University
- Amirahmadi, Hooshang Distinguished Service Professor, Rutgers University
- Atabaki, Touraj International Institute of Social History, The Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Science
- Azimi, Fakhreddin Professor of History, University of Connecticut
- Bajoghli, Narges Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins University
- Banuazizi, Ali, Professor of Political Science, Boston College
- Bavafa, Reza University of Southern California
- Bayat, Asef University of Illinois
- Behdad, Sohrab Professor of Economics, Denison University
- Boroujerdi, Mehrzad Professor and Director, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech
- Chamankhah, Leila University of Dayton
- Chehabi, Houchang Esfandiar, Boston University
- Dallalfar, Arlene, Professor Emerita, Lesley University
- Darvishpour, Mehrdad Professor of Sociology, Mälardalen University
- Ehsani, Kaveh DePaul University.
- Ehsani, Mohammad PhD, PE, SE, Centennial Emeritus Professor of Civil Eng., University of Arizona
- Entessar, Nader Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of South Alabama
- Executive Board, Institute for Social Sciences & Humanities (Iran Academia)
- Falah, Soraya, California State University, Northridge
- Farhang, Mansour, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Bennington College
- Fazaeli, oja Associate Professor, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
- Ghanoonparvar, M. R. Professor Emeritus of Persian and Comparative Literature, The University of Texas at Austin
- Gheissari, Ali, University of San Diego
- Ghorashi, Reza, Professor of Economics, Stockton University, New Jersey
- Haeri, Shahla Professor of Anthropology, Boston University.
- Haghighatjoo, Fatemeh, Dr. Boston University
- Hamedani Kamkar, Azita, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania
- Hamedani, G. G. Professor, Mathematics, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.
- Hashemi, Nader University of Denver
- Hessami, Aram, Political Science Professor, Montgomery College Rockville MD
- Hoodashtian, Ata, Canada Associate Professor in Political Science and Philosophy. Swiss Umef University, Geneva
- Hoodfar, Homa, Emerita Professor of Anthropology, Concordia University, Canada.
- Hosseini, Parvaneh, Worcester University, Adjunct lecturer, Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Department of Health Science.
- Izadi, Kazem Retired Professor, University of Tehran
- Jahanbegloo, Ramin Professor, Vice Dean, O. P. Jindal Global University, India
- Javaheri, Mohammad Professor of Mathematics, Siena College, Loudonville, NY
- Kadivar, Mohammad Ali Boston College
- Kadivar, Mohsen Duke University
- Kamali, Mehrak, the Ohio State university
- Kardavani, Kazem Retired Professor at E. Sadegh University, Tehran
- Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad Emeritus Professor of Persian Language, Literature and Culture, University of Maryland
- Katouzian, Homa St Antony’s College, University of Oxford
- Kazemzadeh, Masoud, Sam Houston State University
- Khalili, Ahmad, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
- Khanlarzadeh, Mina Ph.D., Northwestern University
- Khatam, Azam PhD., York University
- Khosokhavar, Farhad retired professor at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
- Kian, Azadeh, Professor of sociology and gender studies, université de Paris.
- Mahdi, Ali Akbar Professor Emeritus, Ohio Wesleyan University
- Mehran Kamrava, Professor of Government, Georgetown University Qatar
- Meisami, Sayeh, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton
- Milani, Abbas Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University
- Milani, Farzaneh, Raymond J. Nelson Professor, University of Virginia
- Mir-Hosseini, Ziba School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
- Mirsepassi, Ali New York University.
- Moaddel, Mansoor, Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland-College Park
- MoghadamValentine M., Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Northeastern University
- Moghaddam, Fathali Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University; Editor of the Cambridge University Press book series on Progressive Psychology
- Moghissi, Haideh Emerita Professor, York University, Canada
- Mohammadi, Majad Retired Professor of Sociology.
- Mojab, Shahrzad Professor, University of Toronto, Canada
- Monshipouri, Mahmood, San Francisco State University
- Nafisi, Azar former, fellow, and Director of Cultural Conversations at Johns Hopkins- SAIS
- Nasr, Vali, Professor of International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
- Navab, Mohammad, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
- Niroomand-Rad, Azam Emeritus Professor, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
- Nomani, Farhad Professor Emeritus American University of Paris
- Noorbaksh, Mehdi Ph.D., MBA, MHA, Professor of International Affairs and Business, Harrisburg University, Vice President, World Affairs Council Harrisburg
- Paivandi, Saeed Professor of Sociology, University of Lorraine (Nancy, France)
- Parhami, Behrooz Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Parsa, Misagh Professor of Sociology, Dartmouth College
- Rahimieh, Nasrin, Howard Baskerville Chair of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
- Rahnema, Saeed Professor, York University, Canada
- Rastegar, Asghar MD, Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
- Roshandel, Jalil, East Carolina University
- Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, Dr Eskandar, Assistant Professor in Contemporary Politics and Modern History of the Middle East, Goldsmiths College, University of London.
- Sadri, Mahmoud, Professor of Sociology, Texas Woman’s University.
- Saeidi, Shirin, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Arkansas.
- Sahimi, Muhammad, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California
- Seyed-Ghorab Asghar, Utrecht University
- Shahpari, Hasan, Community College of Philadelphia
- Shirazi, Arman Ph.D., Senior Scientist, CSM North America
- Siavoshi, Sussan, Trinity University
- Sobhani, Iradj, MD, PhD, Professor in Medicine, Head of GIT department and Cancer research team at UPEC University in France
- Soltani, Ebrahim Associate Professor, Political Science, Eastern Michigan University
- Tabari, Esfandiar Akdeniz University Antalya
- Tajali, Mona, PhD, Associate Professor of IR & WGSS, Agnes Scott College
- Talattof, Kamran University of Arizona
- Tavakoli, Mohammad professor of history, University of Toronto
- Tohidi, Nayereh, professor of Gender Studies, California State University, Northridge.
- Vahman, Fereydun, Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen
- Zamani, Hadi PhD, Retired Economic Adviser, UK Department for Transport, and the National Economic Research Associates
- Zangeneh, Hamid, Retired Professor of Economics, Widener University
- Sullivan T. Zohreh, Professor Emerita, Departments of English, African Studies, Unit for Criticism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Il. 6180
- Tavakolian, Bahram, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology, Denison University
*This article was revised on February 10, 2022, to add two more names to the list of signatories and name two professors who have been dismissed.
**This article was revised on February 10, 2022, to name two professors who have been dismissed.