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Pro-Democracy Opposition Since 1979

Iran: Students' Demands From Presidential Candidates 2013

A Group of Student Activists/ABF Translation
The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
May 28, 2013
Statement

A group of student activists from 19 of the country's universities have issued a statement declaring their intention to participate in the [presidential] election campaign on a "demand-centred" stance in a bid to realize the basic rights of citizens.

Tuesday, 07 Khordad 1392 [28 May 2013]

In the name of the Creator of Truth

Now that the country is on the threshold of the 11th presidential election and in circumstances when the election climate is, on the one hand, replete with ambiguous and at times contradictory stances and opinions while, on the other, political groups and movements are being formed in a hasty manner based on emotions, spontaneous decisions and biased attitudes, perhaps there is little mention of issues related to civil society, basic civil rights, the right to expression or the myriad of economic problems in the election players' campaign platforms.

Therefore, for the first time, a section of the country's student movement is entering the election space on a demand-centred stance to realize the basic rights of citizens. To that end, , it sets out to outline expectations and demands on political, economic and human rights issues, in a rational atmosphere and away from the commotion, in a bid to change election paradigms from the current rhetorical stances (sanctions-participation) to an approach based on dialogue and social criticism.

These demands, split into four categories of domestic policy, foreign policy, economy and human rights, are as follows:

Domestic Policy

1. The system of power in Iran regards people as a large sprawling mass, which it sees as its followers not partners. This conviction has removed nationals in society from their citizenship functions and is steering them in the direction of an aggregate with mass characteristics. Such a role does not reflect an understanding of citizens' rights or an appropriate relationship with a civil society. As a first step, the candidates must attempt to change their attitude towards society and the electorate. In other words, they must garner their votes from informed citizens instead of attracting the masses through demagoguery and adoption of populist methods.

2. Parties, individuals and the variety of groups in Iran invariably, and particularly on the threshold of elections, base their strategies on negating the opinions of their rivals. In a way, election campaigns have been reduced to candidates challenging their rivals' competence instead of proving their own competence, to such an extent that instead of engaging in any dialogue or interaction with their supporters, they merely lecture them, and most of the time, the main issue is that of choosing between the bad and the worse. This approach is aimed at generating fear in society and among the voters who, consequently, in fear of the victory of one candidate vote for another. The detrimental impact of such conduct on promotion of citizenship ethics is obvious, resulting in citizens preferring to disappear into the masses so that they may go unnoticed should they make a mistake. Another outcome [of the approach] is creation of idols and myths, which within a few years instils confusion in society. Candidates must outline their policies in greater detail and by engaging in a dialogue with citizens avoid spread of fear in society.

3. One of the failures of political parties and groups lies in the gap between their slogans and actions. Another problem with that approach is the generalization of election pledges and their lack of clarity. Experience has proven that the biggest guarantee for realization of slogans is presentation of a clear and precise strategy. Candidates must demonstrate their adherence to their pledges. And alongside their election slogans, they must present a clear and concise strategy for their realization.

4. Active forces on the political scene often pay minimal attention to democracy, which has been reduced to presence at the ballot box. Factions and groups do not want to respond to their democratic claims before the polls. They merely enter into a monologue with the public in the course of the election process. Subsequently they vanish from the scene and hide behind closed doors, preferring to resolve issues through private negotiations. In such situations, the people do not see their representative until the next election. Candidates must acknowledge that in addition to [allowing] continuous social criticism they must also refer to their supporters in the event of crisis, thus somehow bringing social forces onto the scene in earnest.

Foreign Policy

The issue of foreign policy in Iran has always been ambiguous, covert and opaque. Matters are discussed behind closed doors and the public is only informed of their outcomes. In circumstances when the media have no information concerning foreign relations, there is naturally no way that this process could be reviewed or amended by citizens or through public opinion. Hence, a people that cannot determine whether a decision is right or wrong. What is more, in the recent years, Iran's foreign policy has pursued a hostile and confrontational stance towards other countries, in particular the Arab states. This approach has seriously tarnished Iran's image on the international scene prompting the international community's concern on issues such as Iran's potential acquirement of nuclear weapons. Absence of international consensus on Iran's nuclear issue is a clear demonstration of the detrimental impact of [Iran's] current foreign policy. And it is the Iranian people above all that have borne the brunt of the consequences of that policy, including the severe sanctions and the country's growing political and economic isolation. The extremely low economic growth and unprecedented inflation rate, the impact of which is clearly felt by the people in their daily lives, has made the nuclear issue the most discussed foreign policy issue and one of the most important points of discussion today's Iran. One of the greatest expectations from the next government is to steer the foreign policy towards detente and closing of the gap in the stances of the sides through adoption of a peaceful stance. This would improve public welfare and contentment as a result of the lessening of sanctions. This issue could be reviewed from two general perspectives:

Avoidance of hostile presumptions in relation to other countries, in particular the West; and changing the hostile attitude towards them, in a bid to transform a climate of fear and direct threats into interaction and detente. The authorities must avoid provocative speeches that could be cited by the West to demonstrate Iran's lack of goodwill, and by adopting a rational and moderate rhetoric shift the international climate towards reconciliation with Iran. In its negotiations with the [P5+1] countries, Iran must attempt to put forward a rational solution based on a win-win strategy. It must lessen its presentation of ambiguous plans and unclear proposals. One of the best means to that end is to increase its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]. Instead of accusing the IAEA of taking a unilateral stance in favour of the West, officials must permit IAEA inspectors to visit nuclear installations, thus creating a suitable confidence-building climate. The authorities must adopt a more transparent approach towards the public on various issues concerning foreign policy and decisions related to it. In addition, they must allow public opinion to gauge their decisions and stances on various aspect of foreign policy, thus allowing social forces to appraise the country's foreign policy. Clause 4 of Article 2 of the constitution is based on belief on a number of issues: belief in the exalted dignity and value of man and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God, which is achieved through, among others, negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and acceptance. Moreover, Article 3 of the constitution states that in order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government has the duty of directing its resources to goals, including framing the foreign policy of the country on the basis of Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims and unstinting support to the mostazafin [destitute] of the world. Unfortunately, however, Iran's foreign policy has constantly demonstrated double-standard and contradictory behaviour in this regard. On the one hand, they speak of these very principles and support a group, yet when supporting the oppressed is not deemed to be in the interest of political goals, they deem the principle to be the interests of the country and defend the oppressor under the pretext of [safeguarding] the country's interests.

The government's unstinting support for the regime of Bashar Assad, military cooperation with North Korea, and comprehensive relations with China are examples of such double-standard policy.

On the one hand, it disregards the oppressed Muslims and non-Muslims of the world because those who are oppressing them are allies of the government. And, on the other, it claims to be a defender of the world's oppressed. This point somewhat demonstrates the double-standard policy in which adventurism has priority over observing the articles of the law, ethics and national interests. The authorities must adhere to the law, while displaying a transparent behaviour in their international relations by respecting national and ethical considerations.

Economy

The current adverse economic situation is a fact known by all, in particular by the people whose daily lives are touched by the fast growing prices that escalate every day and often by the hour. There are no shortages of indications that Iran is experiencing an economic crisis: the almost zero economic growth, the negativity of which is being debated, the over 30 per cent inflation, which has had its biggest impact on the lower middleclass, the worrying situation and occasional bankruptcies of domestic producers. International economic developments and growing sanctions are undoubtedly among factors responsible for the country's adverse economic situation. However, one cannot disregard the role played by government management and decision-making.

Iran's next president shoulders a heavy responsibility for recompensing the damages sustained by the country's economic structure. He is expected to save the country from its current unfavourable situation by pursuing the following strategic policies:

Bearing in mind that the government's economic structure has become a target of increasing sanctions, it needs to ease the pressure of sanctions by granting permission to the private sector to expand its activities. Based on statistics, the government's plan, in line with Article 44 of the constitution, to transfer part of the state businesses to the private sector thus increasing the growth of the private sector in relation to the public sector, and to allow the private sector to enter the domains of state monopoly, has not been implemented. In fact, the incomplete privatization process in Iran has caused the creation of a quasigovernment sector, which although allocated supposedly private shares, it is to all intents and purposes operating under government authority; it toes the government line, and its members are appointed with direct government interference. Such privatization does not have any of the benefits of competitive economy; nor does it in anyway prevent the increase in rent-seeking. Instead it diminishes the monitoring power of oversight bodies, such as the Majles, over these sectors. In addition to allocating shares or selling assets of the state-owned companies to the private sector, the government must lower its intervention in the private sector to a minimum. In that way, [the government] would be able to reduce its financial commitments on matters such as allocation of foreign exchange or extensions of loans to certain companies. Moreover, it would manage to prevent a drop in the efficiency of organizations caused by direct interference of politicians serving their own interests. As a result, efforts would be made to establish and attract clients, thus motivating economic activists to improve quality. The government must refrain from direct intervention in the market, thus allowing affairs to take their normal course. A failure to understand the government's position in the economic system and the issuing of irrational and hasty decrees at special junctures prevent achievement of market stability and economic progress through growth in the rate of output. Government's indiscriminate injection of commodities into the market at a time of increasing demand will in practice lead to a drop in output and, consequently, price hikes, which would ultimately warrant greater government intervention; this will happen in the next few years in the form of a chain of events leading to a vicious circle. Random government intervention in the market will expose producers to greater risks and economic insecurity, to such an extent that they will not be able to correctly predict the rate of demand in relation to supply. As a result it is likely that they will suffer losses in the event of supply exceeding demand. Therefore, at times of growing demand, producers, aware of government intervention, retreat from the field. This will not only hit the national output, but it will also lead to a rise in inflation, thus forcing the government into spending more on imports of subsidized good to the market in the next rounds. Instead of taking such hasty measures, the government is recommended to engage in a proper distribution of resources, support producers and provide them with the required facilities. Moreover, it should trust the market as an efficient economic system and confine itself to merely monitoring it. The government must do its utmost to avoid a command economy and permit companies and the Central Bank to have independent control. In our country, the Central Bank has turned into the biggest government tool for removing the budget deficit through increasing the amount of money in circulation instead of controlling the foreign exchange rate and helping to establish price stability. Once the government becomes dependant on the Central Bank to advance its economic objectives, it will avoid finding solutions for real income generation. Moreover, by increasing its monetary and financial reliance, it will also rob the Central Bank of its power to make decisions towards establishing economic stability; and instead it will adopt its own political decisions. Injection of cash via the Central Bank to meet government borrowings will face society with artificial liquidity. And since this is not accompanied by a rise in output, it will lead to a situation of demand exceeding supply, hence another price hike. Instead of such conduct, the government must strive to strengthen the market and create liquidity by way of investing in production activities and a normal circulation of money in the economy. Independence at the Central Bank means that the government must not directly intervene in bank policies and payment of its [government] debts, that the Money and Credit Council must appoint a few government representatives instead of ministers and government officials making up the bulk of it, and that the Central Bank governor must not be dependent on the government. However, the Central Bank's independence from the government does not mean that their [bank and government] plans will overlap. If the government and banking system confront one another instead of interacting, pursuing different policies, they will cause twice as much harm on the production sector. It should be noted that the Central Bank's independence will be fruitful if in keeping with other economic plans, such as privatization or non-reliance on oil earning. Otherwise, it is possible that it may have adverse effects, such as disproportionate concentration of power in the hands of investors or government deficit. In the recent years, especially since the ninth government, military organs have had considerable influence over the economy. And, using every means at their disposal, they have also stretched their influence to the political sphere. The government must support independent producers and industrialists, thus paving the way for removing the economic arms of the military. In view of the defined remit of the [Islamic Revolution] Guards Corps [IRGC] as a military organ [in charge of] protecting the totality of the Islamic Republic, and cautioned against political interference after the formation of the Intelligence Ministry, the current unquestionable power of the IRGC in the political and, particularly, economic spheres, seems very unsavoury. The IRGC's involvement in the economy has delivered the biggest blow to the private sector because of the unfair competition among the military, producers and economic activists. The power of the IRGC in securing special, and at times illegal, privileges (such as over 10 million [currency not specified] contracts without tender), being privy to confidential meetings, resorting to intimidation or improperly interfering in the private sector, having access to a cheap workforce from the lower and uneducated strata, not to mention the government's provision of the IRGC's needs and resources, are among the advantages the IRGC has over the private sector. As a result, the private sector simply backs away from competing against the IRGC. In view of its increasing economic power, the IRGC is watchful of any increase in the strength of the private sector. Therefore, by using its political levers, it either drives away private companies from the field or embarks on forging a partnership with them. The signing of four contracts, amounting to approximately 10 billion dollars, between the IRGC and ninth government in a very short space of time, and the subsequent rising trend of such contracts, the handover of over 2000 big developmental, industrial and ... [ellipses as published] projects to IRGC-affiliated companies, through the medium of Khatam al-Anbia base [an engineering firm controlled by the IRGC], and the IRGC's licence to engage in imports and exports via over 60 illegal docks, are some of the proofs that the government has transformed the IRGC into a pole in the country's economy. The government uses the pretext that it is cheaper to give projects to the IRGC, while the IRGC uses the country's ports to import its secretive goods and increase its military power under the pretext of safeguarding entry and exit points and engaging in military transactions. Meanwhile, it is the domestic producers and workforce that are most adversely affected.

The armed forces' adherence to military logic and its incompatibility with the economic climate, the IRGC's access to intelligence data, which leads to a weakening of the private sector and curbing of economic prosperity, its refusal to disclose details of its economic activities, the danger that the country's economic power is concentrated within a military organ, which could lead to accumulation and monopolization of wealth by the military, rise in corruption and the possibility of the IRGC dominating the branches of power, are reasons why it is not appropriate that the IRGC should enjoy such a degree of economic authority. The government must take such realities into consideration, thus a cabinet should be formed that is made up of competent and worthy individuals - contrary to the current government, the bulk of which is made up of former IRGC commanders - and embark on a gradual removal of the IRGC from the economic sphere.

It is natural that when the main body of the government is composed of military officials, the IRGC will assume special privileges, which the private sector would be deprived of, and it will seek to take possession of industries. Besides, the government should not only monitor the IRGC's security activities and their entry and exit channels; it should also refrain from condoning the IRGC's lack of accountability with regard to illegal imports or grant it special privileges in its competition against the private sector.

The government is duty-bound to implement Article 44 [of the constitution] by transferring shares to genuinely independent private organizations and lessen its current deviation by avoiding engagement in hefty transactions with the IRGC or transfer of shares in major companies, such as telecommunications, to the IRGC. The independence of the cabinet and IRGC from one another will confine the latter to carrying out its commissioned activities in the military spheres, thus fulfilling its natural mission properly. An end to covert economic activities of the IRGC and the unipolar economy, caused by the position of the IRGC as the sole competitor, will eradicate corruption from the country's economic structure. And the government's budget would instead be spent on investing in domestic producers and contractors, which would automatically boost privatization.

The government is duty-bound to support the graduate elites by creating a climate conducive to their employment and career advancement, and seek to create equal opportunities through provision of the required facilities. The trend of nepotism in the country's recruitment process and the absence of a system based on meritocracy have made job seeking difficult for skilled and specialist graduates. The same trend could also be seen within the cabinet of ministers, in the influence of family relationships in obtaining key positions, the blatant discrimination in hiring of personnel for state-owned companies and allocation of unfair quotas despite the existence of tests and interviews. A spread of this phenomenon will generate a sense of job insecurity and despair among the elites who feel that their intellect and skill are no criteria for progress. One of the most significant results of this is brain drain, which is seen as a major obstacle to Iran's progress. On the other hand, the irregular increase in the number of fee charging universities, such as Payam-e Nur, the increase in the capacity of the Azad universities [private chain of universities and admission at higher academic levels to nationwide universities without an entrance exam but in return for tuition fee, are examples of the purchases and sales of degrees, which have very negative consequences. Since the government policies based on expansion of graduate education are not in keeping with creation of job opportunities for this group , instead of producing a dynamic and productive workforce for the country, they will lead to the creation of a frustrated class of graduates who are ultimately forced to take on menial jobs or work in areas not unrelated to their main field of study. The government must monitor recruitment thereby preventing individuals serving their respective factions in that process, thus giving sanction to laws by ensuring that an individual hired for a job has the right qualifications for that job. The government must also prevent waste of energy and capital in the higher education process by creating job opportunities to match the rise in the number of graduates and providing training tailored to needs. It should extend loans and assistance to graduates in a bid to create equal opportunities thus motivating the youth to work and advance their career. The government must seek to attract the elite and curb the considerable brain drain by attaching importance to research activities inside the country, strengthening links with university research and industry and eliminating administrative bureaucracy that stands in the way of research projects. Moreover, a realization of meritocracy will guarantee a bright future for the reconstruction of the country. The government must take the issue of brain drain seriously; rather than ignoring the problem and denying its existence, it must seek to resolve it, by implementing comprehensive projects aimed specifically at stemming the flight of the elite. The government must give back the output and development sector's share by removing subsidies to prevent the country's economic cycle from coming to a halt. The Targeted Subsidies Plan, one of the main goals of which was to amend the energy consumption model - and as alleged by officials, it has been successful to that end - has now, owing to its current means of implementation,, created the biggest problem for the country's output sector. The rise in the cost of energy carriers has directly led to higher costs for domestic producers, whose basic needs include oil and gas; it is diminishing their competitive potential in relation to foreign producers in both the domestic market and exports, a consequence of which is a temporary cycle of reduced output, resulting in losses for domestic producers. And this is while the 30 percent share the government had pledged to the output sector at the start of the Targeted Subsidies Plan has in practice been constantly procrastinated, reduced to 20 percent after a while and ultimately only around 10 percent of it has been paid out. In 1392 [Iranian New Year beginning 20 March 2013] the government has on paper even reduced the share of the output sector to almost zero owing to its deficit. A continuation of this trend will lead to a perpetuation of the loss cycle for domestic producers, indications of which have been seen in relation to production units, a considerable number of which have either been shut down, suspended their activities, or are on the verge of bankruptcy, in the wake of the Targeted Subsidies Plan. Based on statistics, the public resumed their former consumption patterns after a short while, and the only reduction in energy consumption has been only due to the reduction in the output sector's energy consumption. In addition, with the excuse of improving welfare and increasing the people's purchasing power, the government has directly taken over the pricing of goods, thus preventing the increasing cost of producers to be transferred to consumers. Moreover, by resorting to the justification that the subsidies given to the public is of priority and must be paid, the government is regulating the share of the output sector; whereas payment of subsidies in such a way, when there has been no consistent growth in output, merely leads to a rise in liquidity and inflation. And coupled with a rise in consumption, it delivers a substantial blow to the output sector. The government must pay the share of the output sector and refrain from describing subsidies as being of utmost priority instead of focusing on the propaganda aspect of the Targeted Subsidies Plan to falsely gain public approval. Also the government must avoid fixing market prices when it is aware of the negative impact of the rise in the cost of energy carriers on producers, their lack of liquidity and the shortage of required resources for changing the technology for energy consumption in the short term. Furthermore, it must not declare a false low inflation rate at the cost of harming the output sector. The long-term objectives of the government's economic team, as stipulated in the development plans, must be based on reducing dependence on oil earnings. The government's reliance on profits from oil revenue brings about a great deal of economic problems which, under the current sanctions [imposed on Iran] are likely to multiply. The government's exclusive dependence on oil revenue instead of taxes causes the people' dependence on the state, leads to a tendency by the government to resort to force and undermine democracy, prevents formation of a proper civil society and widens the gap between the government and society. Furthermore, states that depend on oil revenue generally turn into exporters of raw materials on account of a fall in motivation to work and an increasing tendency by entrepreneurs to engage in rent-seeking instead of profit-making production units. The fact that demand for industrial commodities is growing more rapidly than demand for raw materials, will ultimately hit the oil-exporting countries, thus gradually destroying their output [sector]. Fluctuations in the price of oil, and the oil-rich states' inability to control the factors responsible for these fluctuations, leads to the vulnerability of single-product states and collapse of their long-term economic plans. Moreover, [the fluctuation] will force the government to increase imports at times of low prices, which will be very problematic owing to the nature of the government's long-term expenditure. At the start of its term, the ninth government saw a substantial rise in oil earnings, which resulted in the spending of petrodollars on irregular imports of consumer goods and their unsystematic injection into the country's economy has led to a rise in inflation and liquidity, the extent of which have become manifest now that Iran's oil is purchased by more [financially] limited countries and under far stricter conditions. The bulk of the Iranian economy, which has for years been dependent on oil, is now in need of an overhaul of its basic structures. The government must reform the country's tax system by eradicating a culture of tax evasion and corruption in the process of tax collection, particularly collection from the country's rich strata, attempting to increase tax earnings, thus compensating for the fall in oil earnings. More importantly, the government must prevent direct exports of raw materials by supporting domestic producers and striving towards the processing of these raw materials domestically. This is because in the absence of oil exports, it is the production sector that needs to be bolstered and given special attention. The government must manage oil earnings even if the sanctions are lifted. It must avoid short-term single injections [of the oil earnings] into the economy, and instead invest them for the future generations.

Human Rights

Students

Throughout the world students are seen as future-builders and young competent forces. And their cries for justice and freedom represent the present and future cries of any dynamic society. The country's politicians must heed their demands, if they want an independent, free and dynamic country. The movement's demands as outlined by a group of students from Iran's universities are as follows:

--Freedom of activity for the variety of student associations, be they political, cultural or ... [ellipses as published] and their publications. --Freedom of students to hold peaceful gatherings within the university environment, and absence of intervention by security forces inside or outside the university with the aim of frightening and intimidating students, or halting [their gathering]. Independence of universities and election of university chancellors by lecturers, personnel and students. Official recognition of the right to education for all students, elimination of all academic restrictions imposed for political and ideological reasons, an end to the 'starred students' label and lifting of the stars from such students. An end to selection and quotas of students based on ethnicity, gender and ideology An end to gender segregation in universities and equal access to all university academic and cultural environments for male and female students An end to granting of special privileges to certain groups and bodies in universities, such as the Basij, owing to their ideological proximity to the [Islamic Republic] system. An end to widespread dismissals and forced retirement of independent lecturers or their substitution with illiterate mercenaries.

Prisoners

Incarceration of civil and political activists is unethical and against human rights law anywhere in the world. Based on the same perspective, we voice our objection to the incarceration of civil and social activists and condemn their imprisonment without any legal or rational charges. They are pioneers who push society toward civilization, and incarcerating them is nothing other than opposing humanity, philanthropy and societal progress. With that in mind, we state our demands in relation to prisoners and detainees:

Defendants must be informed of the charges against them within 48 hours of arrest, and they must be unconditionally released in the absence of sufficient evidence and witnesses Every individual must have a right to legal representation Lawyers must be given immunity in the defence of their clients An end to arbitrary, prejudiced and long-term detentions without sufficient evidence and witnesses Judiciary's supervision over the court process and a proper enforcement of the law regarding criminals Security forces must refrain from raiding the defendant's place of residence, work or study without a judicial warrant Individuals must not be detained or arrested simply for holding an opinions and belief, as per Article 23 of the constitution The national media must strive to publicize court cases in which the plaintiffs are generally ordinary citizens, and advance transparency in the court procedures for defendants and criminals

Women

Women make up over half the world's population and play a significant role in every society. Politicians failing to outline the role of women in the creation of a healthy and balanced society will never attain lasting progress. At present women throughout the world are suffering from a multitude of problems and inequalities. These discriminations and sufferings are more apparent in developing countries. Presidential candidates should take positive steps to eliminate such inequalities and aggressions against women. These steps could be the following:

Giving freedom of action to women's rights activists in the social sphere, creating a formal and healthy environment for their engagement in legal and equality seeking activities, and granting them formal recognition as social activists Granting permits to women's rights activists for legal publications, websites, official blogs, speak freely and hold frequent sessions throughout the country aimed at spreading information and raising national awareness An end to police and security forces' interventions aimed at preventing the civil activities of women's rights activists; an end to threats and intimidations against the activists and their families, and an end to arbitrary and illegal detention of the activists Collaboration by government and state bodies with women's rights activists toward the speediest possible realization of their rights; an end to creating obstacles and preventing [women] from engaging in legal and peaceful activities Iran's accession and adherence to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Actions by the government to confront fundamentalism, aggression and any form of religious, national or tribal actions that violate the rights of women and cause them fear and humiliation Attempts by the government to prevent publication of sexually stereotypical and discriminatory images of women, or any inculcation in the media, academic text books and educational environments of inequality or patriarchy Refusal to endorse or issue any directives or orders that entail exclusion of women and girls from work and academic opportunities and spheres

Ethnic and Religious Minorities

One of the most beautiful manifestations of human life is the existence of diversity throughout the world, and, today, governments, organizations and human rights bodies consider it their duty to safeguard this ethnic diversity and respect tribes and minorities.

Unfortunately, tribes and minorities residing in Iran have been deprived of their rights, including the rights to read, write [in their own respective languages], exhibit cultural and historical heritage, and freely express their ideas and beliefs. Furthermore, they are grappling with a challenge known as second-class citizenship and subjected to ridicule by the ruling clan; a phenomenon that has created an unimaginable rift, which has driven tribes out of centres and split up tribes and religious minorities within society

Thus, in view of the above-mentioned issues, we have included the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities in Iran within the context of international conventions, treaties, and declarations, among our demands:

Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted on 18 December 1992 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1966, in particular articles 2, 20,26 and 27 The Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular articles 2 and 26 UNESCO charter on linguistic heritage UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, adopted in 1960 Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

A Group of Student Activists From Universities of:

1. Orumiyeh. 10. Khajeh Nasreddin Tusi, Tehran.

2. Amir Kabir, Tehran (Polytechnic). 11. Razi, Kermanshah.

3. Orumiyeh Azad. 12. Sahand, Tabriz.

4. Tabriz Azad. 13. Shahrud (nationwide).

5. Payam-e Nur, Orumiyeh. 14. Shahid Beheshti.

6. Payam-e Nur, Sari. 15. Industrial, Orumiyeh.

7. Tabriz. 16. Babol Noohshirvani Industrial.

8. Jondishapur, Dezful. 17. Allameh Tabataba'i.

9. Chamran, Ahvaz. 18. Kazeroun (nationwide).

19. Yasuj (nationwide)1967