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Iran Continues Crackdown On Democratic Student Opposition

Iran is continuing a current new campaign of repression against student democratic and leftist organizations, with more recent arrests of members of the leftist 'Students For Freedom And Equality In Iran' and other student leaders who are organizing democratic and more secular based opposition using the universities of Iran to educate and recruit democratic forces.

The hardliners who control the national government of Iran realize that public opposition is building to the policies of the government which have involved numerous war of words with Washington and other leading nations, and a sagging economy at home. Unemployment is currently 11% in Iran. Although Iran ranks as 15th in the world in GDP, continued political problems with the U.S. and other states as well as the hardline religious government have only hurt Iran's growth into a leading world economic power. The UN only considers Iran as a "semi-developed" economy at best.

The domestic opposition arrests of student leaders of democratic and leftist opposition to the government of President Mahmoud Admadinejad have been especially brutal recently, with many students showing clear signs of abuse, injuries and even torture. Many students were taken to Iran's notorious Evan prison and one student had a leg and shoulder broken, while others had numerous cuts and bruises.

Families of the students struggle to afford the high bail fees for their arrested student children to prevent their further abuse while they await charges for various anti-state crimes. The government has been using torture and abuse to force the students to make public confessions on Iranian state-controlled TV and to force them to falsely claim that they are some part of organizations operating outside of Iran.

The hardline religious government of Iran is equally fearful of both growing secularism and democracy in Iran. And as the popular support for religious extremist President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad continues to sag, especially among the better educated and students, he uses more and more political repression in an attempt to hang onto power. The repression in Iran is nearly as bad as that during the days of the rule of the hated Shah of Iran that was disposed in the 1979 revolution.

None of this is very encouraging to widespread international investment in the Iranian economy as well. The repressive political environment as well as any prospects of war with the U.S. only hurt any attempts by Iran to grow the economy to meet the demands of 900,000 new workers coming into the economy each year.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ran for president of Iran, he promised improvements for the Iranian economy which have grone mostly unmet, and instead he has been involved in near nonstop political frictions with the U.S. and Western states over the nuclear program in Iran and other issues.

All of this has only helped to galvanize more and more opposition to Ahmadinejad, who has ramped up political repression of his opponents rather than really improve the nation of Iran or live up to his numerous unmet campaign promises.

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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