On January 11, a group of student protestors at Amir Kabir University read a powerful statement that condemned Iran’s elite and government. The students were reacting to the downing of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. They mourned the loss of 176 lives, including colleagues and university alumni, but were also enraged at the Revolutionary Guards for mistakenly shooting the plane down and at the government for denying responsibility for three days. The students also recalled government’s clumsy implementation of a gas price hike that sparked massive protests in November 2019. “The events of the past two months have been a clear testimony to the complete incompetence of the regime ruling over Iran, a regime whose only answer to every crisis is to resort to force.”
The statement also contained some generic demands. “Above and beyond anything else, the people demand freedom and equality, and they raised their voices in the loudest form in the month of Aban (November) to bring their message to others,” it read.
The students also blamed the United States for the “increasing insecurity and chaos” in the region. “Our approach towards that aggressive power is quite clear. However, it is also clear to us that America’s adventurism in the region should not be used as an excuse for domestic suppression,” they said. The statement was circulated on Telegram, a popular messaging application. The following is a translation posted by Farhang Jahanpour.
Statement by Amir Kabir University Students
We, the children of the Iranian people, do not regard ourselves as being separate from them. Their pain is our pain and the heavy grief on their hearts is also pressing on our hearts. On Wednesday morning, the crisis reached its zenith, and only one day after the death of scores of our compatriots in Kerman [during General Soleimani’s burial], once again the nation witnessed the death of its children on a flight. We had not yet found the opportunity to mourn the martyrs of the month of Aban [during anti-government demonstrations in November] when another calamity was added to it.
Today, we are surrounded by “evil” from every quarter. While the government’s economic policies and political suppression have brought the people to the end of their tether, the shadow of war has also appeared above our heads. In the midst of constant threats by military powers, today what is lacking in Iran’s political climate is the people’s voice. Above and beyond anything else, the people demand freedom and equality, and they raised their voices in the loudest form in the month of Aban to bring their message to others.
The events of the past two months have been a clear testimony to the complete incompetence of the regime ruling over Iran, a regime whose only answer to every crisis is to resort to force. It is our duty today to direct all our efforts at the totality of the system of suppression, whether in the form of an oppressive government or an imperialist power.
During the past few years, America’s presence in the Middle East has produced nothing but increasing insecurity and chaos. Our approach towards that aggressive power is quite clear. However, it is also clear to us that America’s adventurism in the region should not be used as an excuse for domestic suppression. As today everybody is repeating the mantra of “national security”, we should ask which social groups, classes and strata they have in mind. We are not afraid of saying loud and clear that the security of the poor, deprived and marginalized has been undermined for many years. The economic policies of the past 30 years have resulted in creating a whole host of neglected groups, alongside a group of privileged, rich and corrupt individuals.
The problem is compounded by the fact that outside the borders of the country, with the financial and media assistance of powerful states, some corrupt and totally dependent opposition groups have been formed. Yes, today, we are surrounded by evil from every direction.
Dear Iranian people! The only way to escape the current crisis is to return to a policy based on people’s democratic rights, a policy that will not rush into the arms of imperialism due to its fear of despotism, and one that in the name of resistance and fighting against imperialism will not legitimize despotism. Yes, the only way to reject and escape the current situation is to equally reject both despotism and imperialism.
We need a policy that will not limit freedom and equality to a special group and class, but regards these principles as the inalienable right of all the people. Today, everyone is clear about the need for social and political democracy. In such a democracy, the government will not be indifferent to the condition of the people, and will safeguard security, freedom and equality for all.
We the children of Iran express our condolences to the Iranian people for the martyrdom of hundreds of our compatriots in the events in Kerman and in the downing of the civilian aircraft. We promise that we will not allow their blood to be wasted. History will not forget the blood of any innocent person. History always returns with strength and will take revenge for the blood of any oppressed person from the oppressors.