Rouhani’s speech at Tehran University met with protest
President Rouhani’s speech at Tehran University at the beginning of the new school year was met with protests from student organizations and activists. The students were protesting the education ban and legal persecution of politically active students.
In the days leading to the Wednesday protests, student organizations had called on students and activists to come to the university for a protest gathering and expressing their demands.
The students gathered in front of the door of the theater where Rouhani was giving his speech, carrying banners and signs such as: “Students flagged and barred from education, arbitrary selection of students, heavy judicial sentences, money in education.”
At the same time, a group of fundamentalist students inside the theater left the event at the beginning of Rouhani’s speech in protest to “pre-selected questions” and the “atmosphere of flattery.”
In his speech, President Rouhani underlined the important role of the universities to “heat the elections” and said: “We have no other choice but to have a glorious election, even if you say there are issues and problems.”
Rouhani went on to say that the current dichotomies within the regime about the method of interaction with the world are “strategic issues of contention” and said: “We have not found an answer to this question in 41 years.”
“We cannot fight with each other; it has been 40 years of fighting. We have to choose the way,” Rouhani added. He also claimed that all the current disagreements in the regime are over the issue of interaction with the world.
Regarding the economic issues of the country, Rouhani said: “Can you move the economy forward without relationships in the world? Without a relationship with the world, when banks and imports and exports are locked, growth and development get locked.”
“Even now that we are managing to run the country, we have to thank some of our neighboring countries and friends who ignore US sanctions,” Rouhani confessed.
Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund projected that Iran’s economy will shrink by 9.5 percent this year.