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Iranian Students Continue to Seek Political Reforms - 2002-12-10


Members of a hardline Iranian militia reportedly tried to attack a gathering of 400 students at a university in Tehran Tuesday. The incident appears to be the latest example of attempts by hardliners to crush demonstrations against the Islamic regime.

Students at Alameh University in Tehran had to escape through the rear exit of a lecture hall Tuesday when about 15 members of the Basij militia tried to break into the hall.

The students were listening to a speech by the head of the Iran Freedom Movement, Ebrahim Yazdi, who was calling for freedom of speech and respect for the constitution.

It was the second consecutive day in which hardline Islamists attacked a pro-reform student gathering in an effort to stop protests against the Islamic regime.

Student demonstrations throughout Iran began last month after an Iranian court handed down a death sentence against a pro-reform history professor. The professor, Hashem Aghajari, was found guilty of challenging the authority of Islamic clerics. Iran's highest appeals court has said it will review the verdict.

Though the students are now banned from demonstrating on Iranian streets, they have been allowed to hold meetings on campus.

In the meantime the brother of pro-reform Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, Mohammad Reza Khatami, warned religious hardliners Tuesday that Iran may face a revolution similar to the Islamic revolution in 1979 if the government fails to meet the expectations of the students.

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