Understanding and fixing the social problems of Iran
is impossible without sociologists’ security

Statement of International Association of Sociologists Without Borders Iran (SSF)

After the suppression of public protests which followed the Iranian presidential election of 2009, the atmosphere of tight security and repression within academic and research centers against students, professors and researchers, especially in the fields of social sciences and sociology, has increased. This is combined with the continuing educational exclusion, dismissal and even arrest of students. At the same time, an extensive endeavor is underway aimed at ensuring the Islamization of various subjects within the social sciences such as sociology and the closure of some social sciences departments.
It is natural that every country, in its history of social change, has faced numerous difficulties and crises. Those countries that have triumphed over such crises and have paved the way to sustainable development are those that have provided a safe and democratic cultural and social atmosphere within universities and research centers. This has allowed the education of students, researchers and experts, the investigation of social and cultural problems, and the finding of solutions to them.
Unfortunately Iranian society today is struggling with numerous social problems including drug addiction, prostitution, poverty, unemployment, child labour and marriage, ethnic/cultural tensions, identity crises, divorce, suicide, social crimes, delinquency , domestic and street violence and many more. These demand the scientific research of social science experts, especially sociologists. This, however, is impossible unless a safe and democratic atmosphere is established in higher education and research centers.
A review of the names of arrested and excluded experts and academics in recent years indicates that the current atmosphere is unsafe. The list below is only a small proportion of those who have been excluded, dismissed, imprisoned and exiled within the years of 2012 and 2013. Also, many other sociologists have been censored as a result of restrictions in on-the-job promotions, forced early retirement, and the denial of educational and research opportunities. These attempts at marginalization are carried out by security and intelligence forces at universities and research centers.   
1. Saied Madani, Ph.D. in sociology and social sciences researcher, sentenced to six years in prison and ten years of exile
2. Mir Taher Mousavi, professor of sociology, sentenced to five years in prison and ten years of exile
3. Sohrab Razaghi, Ph.D. in sociology and social science researcher, sentenced to twenty years in prison and made to pay heavy fines
4. Jafar Ibrahimi Azandaryani, M.A. in sociology, sentenced to prison
5. Amir Chamani, M.A. in sociology at Islamic Azad University in Tabriz, sentenced to prison
6. Yashar Dar al-Shafaei, social planning at university of Tehran, sentenced to five years in prison
7. Ziya Nabavi, M.A. in sociology, sentenced to six years in prison and ten years of exile and excluded from education
8. Mohamad Amin Alizadeh, bachelor student in sociology, Isfahan University, arrested
9. Ehsan Houshmand, M.A. in sociology and researcher of ethnic problems, arrested
10. Rouh AlLah Ghasemi, M.A. in sociology at the University of Shiraz, arrested
11. Davoud Ghasimi, bachelor student in sociology at Islamic Azad University, Tehran, arrested
12. Mohamad Fazeli, Ph.D in sociology and professor at the University of Mazandaran, barred from teaching
13. Pirouz Piran , Ph.D in sociology and professor, Alame Tabatabaee University, arrested
14.  Dalir Yar Khoda, Ph.D student of sociology, University of Shiraz, deprived of education
15. Mokhtar Asadi, M.A. in sociology, University of Tehran, deprived of education
16. Mehdi Hamidi Shafigh, M.A. in sociology, deprived of education
17. Mohamad Azizi, M.A. in sociology, deprived of education
Such restrictions within academic and research centers run contrary to all international treaties which the Iranian government has signed up to. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, defines academic freedom as: “the liberty of individuals to express freely opinions about the institution or system in which they work, to fulfil their functions without discrimination or fear of repression by the State or any other actor, to participate in professional or representative academic bodies, and to enjoy all the internationally recognized human rights applicable to other individuals in the same jurisdiction”..
Also according to the policy as defined by UNESCO, academic freedom is a scientific activity without restrictions by official ideology and which is characterized by freedom of teaching and discussion, freedom in carrying out research and disseminating the results, the freedom of ideas, freedom from institutional censorship, and freedom to participate in professional and other organizations without any discrimination and without a fear of repression by the government or other authorities. The policy of UNESCO emphasizes that teaching materials should not run contrary to university professors’ knowledge and beliefs and that they should not have to use lesson plans inconsistent with international human rights standards. They should also not be subject to dismissal unless sufficient reasons exist with regards to their professional practice. These reasons should be considered and addressed before an independent and impartial third party.
Moreover international human rights treaties emphasize the right of equal access to education for all people with the emphasis placed on individual merit.  This is something that the Iranian government severely breaches since students applying for admission to higher education are screened in accordance with their beliefs.
Therefore, the International Association of Sociologists Without Borders Iran (SSF) branch, demands that government officials, in all sectors of higher education and research, work to maintain the dignity and liberty of academics, researchers, students and graduates of the country, especially in sociology and the social sciences. The Association believes that restricting the encroachment of non-specialist persons within teaching and research can be combined with the security, freedom, independence, dignity, and excellence of academics and researchers, accelerating the human and social development of Iranian society.

International Association of Sociologists Without Borders Iran (SSF)
Human Rights Collective of the U.S
July 2013


The manifest of International Association of Sociologists Without Borders SSF – Iran:

2010 was the worst year for sociology and sociologist in Iran

Following the events after the presidential Election in Iran in 2009 and the further development of Democracy movement with the motto "Where is our votes" in all urban areas of Iran, the majority of students and academics also were actively involved in this flow.

Increasing demands of this movement in other social spaces changed the streets and squares of different cities to areas for discussions about Democratic and legitimate demands of people, especially young people who have been neglected during the years after the ninth presidential election in 2005 to now time.

In result of storm of protests after few months began the wave of repression and widespread arrests, torture and intimidation, expulsion and exclusion of many social and educational, especially since 2010. The new strategy of repression started with forcing reformist leaders to deny their former statements and invaded western sociological theories (i.e. theories of Habermas)

Following repression announcement against the sociology and sociologists, the wave of arrests and educational deprivation graduates became fast of movement. Some of the above follows:

Invasion in to sociologists:During the year of 2010 over 30 students of sociology and social science in different universities in Iran were arrested, some of them became free after several months and some still stay in prison.
Educational deprivation: During the last year over 22 students of social sciences and sociology were expelled from studying.
Teachers’ demission: many teachers and professors of sociology and social science fields as well as deprived of educational spaces and were forced to retire early. Some prominent figures of the university were forced to leave the country.

Invasion in to sociology:In Addition to physical invasions into sociology graduates, Islamic Republic of Iran also attacked themes and theories and principles of sociology courses in high schools and universities, and emphasized to the Islamic / Muslim Sociology and Humanities to reduce the social sciences and sociology as social institutions at the criticism of religion and power and the mail stream to the secularism.

In this regard, leader of the Islamic government and other governmental leaders proposed severe criticism statement against the academic and sociological fields and made people worrying about the threatening attitude.Following the same events, the ministry of education founded some communities to checkout social sciences community and took action to Islamize the universities after the Islamic Revolution's 1979.

International Association of Sociologists Without Borders SSF - Iran warns high risked situation of the sociology and sociologists in Iran and believes that sociology and sociologists overcome control and reservation of government pressure and threats in the past year.

It ended up that the Sociologists without Borders - Iran does not accepted violent confrontations and threats against sociologists and asks for freedom and restore students deprived of education to universities, academic freedom and academic demand for all majors and is sub-human sciences in Iran.

SSF-Iran believes that human thought cannot get limited and such actions by the Islamic government in Iran just postpones rational criticism and social-human development of Iranian society.

Sociologists Without Borders SSF - Iran
January 2011

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