The International Students for Social Equality is calling a demonstration to protest the Iranian government’s arrest of more than 40 left-wing students.
Those arrested are part of the group Students for Freedom and Equality, also known as the Radical Left. In December, the group organized an independent demonstration to denounce US war plans, while also opposing all factions of the Iranian government. More than 30 students were arrested after the demonstrations, and another 10 were arrested on January 15.
Some students have been released on bail, while others have been unable to meet the extremely high bail fees of up to $100,000. Other students, including alleged leaders of the group, are not eligible for release and have not had contact with friends or family outside of prison. Some students have said they suspect that these prisoners are being tortured to elicit televised confessions. (See “Iranian government intensifies crackdown on left-wing opposition”)
The demonstration to demand the release of the students will be held at the Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York City on Saturday, February 16, at noon. This is the day that the student group has chosen for international protests.
We encourage all our readers and supporters to attend the demonstration. The UN Mission of Iran is located at 622 Third Ave., at the corner of 40th Street, in Manhattan.
The ISSE will be submitting a letter demanding the release of the students, along with letters submitted by our readers. The WSWS calls on its readers to continue sending letters of protest to the Iranian Interests Section in the United States at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send copies to the WSWS.
Below are two recent letters sent to the Iranian government.
We write to bring to your attention the recent grave developments with regards to dozens of students arrested recently in Iran who were involved in protests against the right-wing methods of the hardliners in your Iranian government as well as the criminal war plans of US imperialism. We are very much concerned about the well-being of these young people.
We are citizens of a country where hundreds of thousands of leftists have been systematically detained and tortured, thrown in jail for prison sentences ranging from several years to life. Thousands were “disappeared” or shot to death in cases of extrajudicial execution. In short, we know very well what these young political activists are going through.
It is clear that they have done nothing but voice their entirely justified opposition to war and the government of Iran. We therefore demand the immediate release of all the arrested students. All charges must be dropped. These students have committed no crime. We also demand a stop to harassing left youth in Iran.
SI, SD, AKA, BA, HA, MOD, OO, SK, YA, ZS
6 February 2008* * *
Dear Iranian Interests Section,
When in graduate school, I had several Iranian graduate student friends. By their friendship, I experienced the beauty of your country and kindness of your citizens. As a result, I am a friend of the Iranian people and disagree with President Bush’s desire to attack Iran.
Recently, the Iranian government arrested over 40 Iranian students, Students for Freedom and Equality in Iran, who were protesting Bush’s imperialist arguments for invading Iran and the right-wing actions of some hardliners in the Iranian government.
As a result, I feel that the hardliners in the Iranian government are acting in the same fashion as the White House war criminals who attacked Iraq. None of the students committed any crimes. They were standing up for justice, truth and equality. The Iranian government is violating their human rights. These innocent students are against US imperialism and worldwide oppression by all governments, including the hardliners in your Iranian government. Please release these students, for they are outstanding Iranian citizens who desire to move your society forward and also prevent President Bush from attacking Iran. Thank you.
Larry Robert Semark, PhD
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
4 February 2008