Iranian Students: America's Hidden Ally

The United States' best ally in the war against radical Islam is the one that the State Department either refuses to see or chooses to ignore: the people of Iran. Anti-mullah sentiment is widespread in the country, particularly among the women and the youth, who courageously stand up to the regime that can beat, jail, and torture them without fear of reprisal or punishment from the international community. Yet, even when facing the personification of evil, the Iranian people stand strong and are in search of allies in the West to broadcast their message.

The recent events at Amir Kabir University in Tehran serve as a testament to this fact. On February 21, students began a large sit-in, amounting to 500 protesters, according to the Iranian who sent me a report on the event. The photos and footage sent to me confirmed that large crowds were present. The protest was sparked by the regime's detention of four student activists who had begun a hunger strike while in prison, the banning of five other students from the university's premises, and the decision by the government to bury the coffins of soldiers from the Iran-Iraq war at the university. The regime has used this tactic in the past to suppress the freedom of movement in Iran, as it is illegal to "disrespect" these burial grounds by having large gatherings that don't pay tribute to their sacrifice. It also gives the mullahs' henchmen a reason to drop in without warning.

Chanting things like "Students will die but never bow down" and "Death to dictatorship," the protesters clearly identified themselves to the regime's spies. According to the report sent to me, 20 students were disciplined by the university and the families of some of the protesters received threatening phone calls.

Undeterred, the protesters continued their demonstrations into a second day and then into a third day. According to the Iranian who sent me the information, 60 student protesters were injured by the regime's forces, of which 20 were in "very bad" condition, and 120 students, including 30 females, had been arrested.

Amil Imani, an Iranian democratic activist in the U.S., writes that the website of the university's newsletter also reported on the clashes during the protest, describing how "chest-beating mourners brought the martyr coffins yesterday morning. Before the parade, security forces, Basiji campus police, Revolutionary Guards, plain-clothed intelligence officers, armed vigilantes known as Ansar-e Hezbollah (a violent Islamist organization under the unofficial sway of the supreme leader), and even the fire brigade gathered inside and around the university compounds."

"The security forces and vigilantes used clubs, tear gas sprays, iron knuckles, knives, and other weapons in order to wound the protesting students. At least 25 have been arrested and nine hospitalized with knife wounds and other injuries so far, and the fighting continues as we speak. Another student slogan repeated on the website: Ansar commits the crime, the leader supports it," Imani quotes the newsletter as saying.