Plainclothes Agents arrested ten Art University Students
Plainclothes agents arrested ten Art University students in front of the Bagh-e Melli campus on June 18, 2023, the National Students Council announced. They were apprehended and pushed into an unmarked van without a license plate and moved away from the location.
There is no accurate information available about the current situation of these students.
In the meantime, the State Security Force and Special Units are stationed in front of the university.
The National Students Council has reported that on Saturday morning, June 17, 2023, security guards prevented female students of the University of Art from leaving the dormitories without wearing the maghna’eh, a black cloth covering their head, forehead, chin, and chest. Even those who did not intend to attend university were prevented from leaving. However, the students were later allowed to leave but threatened that they would be investigated upon return.
Offering maghna’eh to the Art University students
Other reports indicated that security guards accompanied by a few female agents had been stationed in front of the School of Cinema and Theater. They would approach female students and offer them to wear the maghna’eh, warning them that they would be deprived of the exams if they did not comply.
Similarly, at the School of Music, security guards would not allow entry to female students who did not wear the maghna’eh. However, a group of students gathered at the entrance and escorted the targeted individual inside the department.
Threatening to crack down on students with heavy machineguns
On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, some 50 Art University students staged a sit-in protest at the Bagh-e Melli campus against the mandatory enforcement of Maghna’eh on female students. Around 2:30 am on Thursday, June 15, 2023, Hamzeh Borzouii Kootenaei, the head of the Security Department at Tehran’s University of Art, viciously attacked and injured the protesting students. Several students were in critical condition.
The guards prevented the students in the sit-in from using restroom facilities and accessing drinking water. Additionally, plainclothes agents stationed outside the university prevented the delivery of food and water to the students.
According to the Shargh newspaper, the head of the Security Department at Tehran’s University of Art intimidated the students with a “strange threat.” In a meeting, he reportedly told the students they would crack down on them with DShK (heavy machine guns).
Message by Art University students, other universities’ support
In response to the threats made by the head of the Security Department at Tehran’s University of Art, a group of Art University students issued a message in which they emphasized, “We, who have become ‘us’ for nearly a year, have nothing to say to you except one word: No. After cutting off the water and resorting to violence against our friends who were peacefully protesting to achieve equality at the Bagh-e Melli campus, we reiterate that there is no going back. The wound opened in September is still bleeding, and we stand hand in hand for freedom.”
Students from several universities, including the University of Science and Technology, Khajeh Nassir Toosi University of Technology, University of Tehran, Melli University, Teachers’ Training University, Soore University, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, and Mazandaran University, have condemned the security forces’ violent arrests, threats of a severe crackdown, and the use of DShK against the students, in statements expressing their support for the Art University students.
Art University students arrested
According to the National Students Council, Maedeh Adami Makri, a 22-year-old Performing Arts student at the University of Art in Tehran, was arrested at her home on Saturday, June 17. After a few hours, she contacted her family. She informed them that she had been transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention center in Ward 209 of Evin Prison. So far, no information is available regarding the reasons for her arrest.
Earlier, Mahshid Esmaeili, a graduate student in the Philosophy of Art at the University of Art in Tehran who had recently defended her thesis, was arrested by security forces in Shahr-e Kord on May 30 and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison.
After being transferred to Ward 209, she has been held in solitary confinement for ten days. There is still no information available about the charges against her.
Universities have been hotbeds of protests against the clerical regime during the nationwide Iran uprising. Students of the University of Art have shown their support for the protesters by creating artistic works ever since the protests started.