The violence and demonstrations at Tehran University have triggered heated debate in the Iranian media about the handling of political dissent.
Sharp criticism has been levelled at the security forces and ultra-conservative vigilante groups, with general agreement that Thursday’s raid on a university hostel was indefensible.
The role of the hardline Ansar-e Hezbollah vigilante grouping in the unrest was still in dispute on Sunday.
According to the conservative daily Tehran Times, the Hezbollah grouping exacerbated the tension created by the “amicable but illegal” student demonstrations on Thursday night.
“The inappropriate interference of Ansar-e Hezbollah and the incompetence of the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) complicated the situation,” the paper said.
Hezbollah ‘expressed regret’
A contradictory commentary on Iranian radio said Ansar-e Hezbollah had denied any involvement in the clashes at the university hostel.
“Over the past few days, the foreign media has feverishly attempted to involve the Ansar-e Hezbollah in the incident by calling it a pressure group.
“In a statement, the Ansar-e Hezbollah expressed regret over the dormitory incident and appealed to the legal organs and officials to carry out a thorough investigation and punish the perpetrators,” the radio said.
Iran’s National Security Council said in a statement at the week-end that a special team had been appointed to investigate the unrest and “firmly deal with the pressure groups which are a cause of many difficulties because of their illegal actions”.
Tehran Times: ‘Lack of insight’
The Tehran Times said the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) had proven incapable of handling “complicated political issues” .
“The Tehran Times recently experienced the immature approach of the LEF,” the English-language daily said.
“Breaching the perimeters of science and knowledge stems only from a lack of insight and only helps political groups attain their goals,” the report added.
“Unfortunately, the approach of some officials to such issues is closer to that of a member of a political party than to an official in charge of national issues.”
Kayhan International: ‘Irresponsible’
Meanwhile, the ultra-conservative daily Kayhan International condemned the security forces’ handling of the student protests as “irresponsible” .
“A peaceful demand, although illegal, should not be answered with a physical assault.
That is not civilised behaviour,” the paper said.
“The state of indecision at some levels has to be overcome by unified, wise behaviour by the authorities responsible for national security.” Kayhan International also warned that Iran’s political factions “have to show maturity and observe the rules of the power struggle in our developing Islamic democracy” .
The pro-reform daily Iran criticised those who blamed political violence entirely on meddling by “foreign elements” .
The paper attacked the “new hypocrites” who were undermining the gains of the Islamic revolution.
“Why is it that those who are always `beating on the drum of Islam’ fail to see that they are standing against their `own comrades’ and why can’t they see that the opposition camp, which is also Muslim, might also speak the truth?” Iran asked.
“The Muslim nation is determined to identify and frustrate the line of hypocrisy and violence which has taken refuge among the secret and visible pressure groups,” the paper added.
Iran News attacks TV
Another pro-reform daily, Iran News, launched a scathing attack on Iranian national TV’s coverage of the unrest.
The paper accused Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) of adopting “a partisan stance in its news coverage in the past three days” and of “refraining from broadcasting pictures and reports about the student protests” .
The paper said IRIB had “shied away from its sole mission, which is to disseminate information to the public, whose members have been witnessing the events at Tehran University campus” .
However, Iranian TV did show Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari being heckled by students at a Tehran hostel on Friday.
Musavi-Lari was shown pleading with the students to be allowed to speak, while they repeatedly interrupted him, chanting: “our interior minister must resign”.
Source » bbc