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Iran: Students, Legislators Protest Dissolution Of University of Medical Sciences of Tehran

Source: RFE/RL; photos by Majid Asgaripour, Mehr News Agency

Iranian students and parliament deputies are protesting a decision to dissolve one of the country's largest medical and educational centers, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi announced on October 30 that Tehran's Iranian University of Medical Sciences was to be dissolved.

University of Medical Sciences and Health Services

Vahid-Dastjerdi said that her ruling was based on notification by the deputy chief of management and human resources development of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's office, according to which government offices are to be moved away from Tehran.

Students at the university, who according to Vahid-Dastjerdi are to be transferred to Tehran University and Shahid Beheshti University, began a protest sit-in on October 31 that continued until November 1, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency.

Eighteen Iranian legislators have written to Vahid-Dastjerdi asking her to reconsider her ruling.

University of Medical Sciences of Tehran renamed to University of Medical Sciences of Iran

Paris-based political analyst Seraj Mirdamadi says that the dissolution of the University of Medical Sciences is illegal.

As universities have become the center of vocal protests against the establishment, Mirdamadi says, the government is now trying to merge some universities with larger ones in order to tighten control over them.

Also, even though the stated rationale for closing the university is decentralization, he says no such policy is being implemented.

University of Medical Sciences of Tehran renamed to University of Medical Sciences of Iran

Mirdamadi questions the logic of closing the school at this time, six weeks after the beginning of the academic year. "Why wasn't the university closed at the end of the [last] academic year, if this was to be done?" he asks.

He also says there have been changes recently in the university management. "If a university is to be closed, its managers should not be changed."

All this points to chaos and confusion in the government decision-making process, Mirdamadi concludes.

The Iran University of Medical Sciences was founded in Tehran in 1974. It currently has more than 6,000 students and 731 faculty members.

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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