Today in NC State History: Iranian students protest

February 4, 2013
By Chris Saunders

blog_series6Many people in Iran had a sense of hope when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came into power in 1979. But that hope soon vanished as his reign brought the closing of universities, the silencing of the media, and the torture and executions of those who opposed him.

And between June and October in 1981, more than 2,000 citizens in Iran had been executed, according to a Feb. 4, 1982, article in the Technician.

photo-1So on this day in 1982, a group of Iranian students at NC State acted as representatives for 50 of those executed in their home country and staged a protest on campus.

“We want to make people aware of (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini’s real nature to clarify the real action taking place in Iran,” one student protester said.

The students received more than 400 signatures on a petition they intended to send to the United Nations and the Red Cross to express a formal opposition to their home government. They also asked fellow NC State students to call for investigators to go to Iran and investigate the executions and torture and to call for democracy and freedom in Iran.

But Khomeini’s actions cast a shadow of fear that stretched even to Raleigh, as those students had to protest in anonymity.

“The Iranian students involved in Thursday’s demonstration to protest the Iranian government wish to be left unidentified for fear of losing their rights in Iran,” read the editor’s note in the next day’s Technician.

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