President Mohammad Khatami stressed on Saturday that universities were not venues for riots, imitation and violence because such behaviors run counter to the true essence of scholarship, IRNA reported from Tehran.
The president made the remark in a ceremony held in Tehran University Saturday morning to mark the first day of the new academic year in Iranian higher education center.
He noted that exercising violence against universities by outside circles will harm both universities and Iranian society besides poisoning the community.
Stressing that universities and students must safeguard their independence and stay clear of any kind of circles, institutions and movements imposed on them from outside the universities, the president warned "the government and its members including me, to respect the independence, freedom of thought and spirit of seeking scientific and social dynamism in the universities."
Pointing out that "no fair people are happy with what has happened to our universities in the past years," Khatami termed it catastrophe to brand student movements and their demands, even if they are expressed in the forms of protests and criticism, as crimes."
He further remarked that Iran was at the present juncture experiencing a new phenomenon which had no precedence in the world and said this makes it necessary for people to tolerate one another and try to go through this stage safely by institutionalizing the rule of law and democracy.
The president went on to point out that the Iranian society has been witnessing a conflict between tradition and modernism in the past century.
He said insisting on the obsolete thoughts of the past people and thinkers without taking into consideration the demands of the time and imitating the life of others are among the problems facing the society over the past century.
He further referred to democracy as the historic demand of the Iranian nation and said the Iranians have been seeking "independence, freedom and progress" for the past one hundred years.
During the ceremony, President Khatami also awarded 22 top students who ranked first to third in the recent university entrance exams held in five different scientific categories early in July this year.
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