Protest when Muhammad Khatami visits St Andrews!
Ahmed was jailed when he appeared, clutching a shirt stained with the blood of one of his comrades, on the front cover of the Economist. He was elected as Honorary Vice-President of NUS as a gesture of solidarity between British and Iranian students. He was released last January but re-arrested in July. Even Hessam Firoozi, the doctor who treated Ahmed in jail and had expressed concerns to the press about his wellbeing, has now been arrested!
At the same time, it is important to remember that Ahmed is only one of thousands of political prisoners in Iran, jailed to expressing even the mildest opposition to the Islamic Republic regime.
Khatami is on the “reformist” wing of the Islamic Republic - which makes him a “moderate” right-wing religious fundamentalist. He is fully committed to the theocratic system which has oppressed the Iranian people, and workers, women, lesbian, gay and bisexual people and young people above all, for the last three decades. During his time in office, tiny modifications to the Islamic Republic’s regime of terror were massively outweighed by the stepping up of neoliberal economics and attacks on the living standards of Iranian workers.
We are deepy disappointed that St Andrews Students’ Association has declared itself in favour of Khatami’s visit, bizarrely dismissing the repression he carried out as “tensions which existed within Iran during his presidency” and claiming that he “adopted a brave stance to promote liberal values in the face of great adversity”. This is an appalling betrayal of Iranian students’ struggle for freedom.
As students, young people, feminists, LGBT and labor movement activists in Britain, we express our wholehearted solidarity with the democratic and working-class opposition in Iran - against both the US’s threat to kill thousands of Iranian civilians in another war and the barbarity of the Iranian regime. We therefore demand that Khatami’s honorary degree be
withdrawn unless Ahmed Batebi is released. When Khatami visits St Andrews, we will be protesting to express our solidarity with Iranian students and others fighting against the theocratic dictatorship for democratic and social rights.
Sofie Buckland, NUS National Executive and Education Not for Sale
Joe Rooney, NUS National Executive, ENS and Young Greens
Keir Lawson, Scottish Socialist Party student organiser
Jack Ferguson, Scottish Socialist Youth national organiser
Laura Schwartz, ENS Women
James Alexander, National Union of Students Scotland President
Stephen Brown, NUS National Secretary
Joe Rukin, NUS National Treasurer
Scott Cuthbertson, NUS LGBT Officer (Open Place)
Veronica King, NUS VP Welfare
Ellie Russell, NUS Vice-President (Further Education)
(All in a personal capacity)
To sign email the address below!