Arrests and new dress codes mark start of academic year at Iranian universities

Female students have been barred from wearing 'loud' high-heeled shoes under new rules at University of Tehran

TOPSHOT - A woman attending a candlelight vigil, in memory of the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737, talks to a policeman following the gathering in front of the Amirkabir University in the Iranian capital Tehran on January 11, 2020.  / AFP / ISNA / ISNA / Mona HOOBEHFEKR
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The start of the new academic year in Iran has been marked by arrests and new rules on how students dress.

At least seven students across the country were arrested in the first days of the new term, Radio Farda reported, while some students and professors have been suspended or expelled for supporting anti-regime protests and flouting hijab rules.

Medical student Sahar Salehian was arrested on Saturday in the north-western city of Saqqez and taken to an unknown location, the Hengaw rights group said.

At universities in Tehran, women are now barred from wearing fake nails, patterned coats or “loud” high-heeled shoes, Iran International reported.

The London-based outlet published images of posters outlining the dress code for students, which include rules preventing men from having long hair or wearing earrings.

Journalists in Iran have said “hijab patrols” are now in place at the University of Tehran.

Students played a large role in last year’s anti-government protests, a movement that posed the biggest threat to the country's leaders since the revolution in 1979.

Security forces killed more than 500 people in a crackdown on protests and more than 18,000 were jailed, including students.

Many have been detained in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Tear gas and ammunition was fired at students on university campuses during the crackdown.

More than 400 students were expelled or suspended by April for joining the demonstrations.

Iran’s new hijab bill, which is widely expected to be enshrined in law, also calls for universities to admit students based on their observance of hijab and chastity regulations, according to a readout of the bill from parliament.

Activists and rights experts have told The National the bill amounts to gender apartheid and called on the international community to take action.

Minors also face a travel ban under the legislation, while children’s toys will be expected to meet vague requirements promoting “Islamic values".

Updated: September 25, 2023, 12:27 PM