Iran’s Zabol University has expelled at least 16 students for defying gender segregation rules, the National Union of Students says, amid a brutal crackdown by the Islamic Republic on nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women’s rights.

The union reported on February 9 that the students, who included both men and women, were expelled by the university’s disciplinary committee for having lunch together in the campus.

The university is located in the eastern city of Zabol.

Iranian universities have been at the forefront of the protest movement sparked by the September death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police.

More than 140 universities have been the scene of anti-government protests, sit-ins, and violent clashes between students and security forces.

Hundreds of students have been barred from universities and arrested or killed by the armed forces, while a number of professors and lecturers have been suspended or fired for expressed solidarity with the demonstrators.

In defiance of authorities’ warnings, many students refuse to attend classes until their demands are met: the unconditional release of all arrested students, the cancelation of arrest warrants for the released students, the lifting of academic suspensions and the withdrawal of security forces from campuses.

The nationwide protest movement poses one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian security forces have killed more than 520 people and detained over 19,000 since the demonstrations began, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.

Source » iranwire