Iran Unleashes Its Wrath on Its Children for Joining Protests

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In one incident, a Tehran elementary school was attacked last month when security forces threw tear gas in its yard during recess because students were chanting anti-government slogans, according to a parent whose third-grade son attends the school.

“My children are not safe on the streets, and they are not safe in school anymore. Everyday I die from anxiety until they get home,” said Sara, a 50-year-old mother of two teenage girls in Tehran who asked that her last name not be used. Last week, the school called to inform her that the plainclothes Basij militia planned a raid of the school and would demand access to the students’ phones. Sara did not send her daughters to school for two days.

Her 17-year-old daughter, a senior who asked not to be named for safety concerns, said she felt “empowered” because every day she has been protesting alongside her schoolmates by taking off their hijabs, banging on doors and chanting “Women, Life, Freedom.”

In Tabriz, a 14-year-old boy named Amir showed symptoms of trauma at home when he refused to eat and became reclusive, his family said. He complained of headaches and an upset stomach.

After three days, he told his uncle that his school had been raided by intelligence agents who had parked a police van in the yard and threatened to take students to jail if they had been found to have torn pictures of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in their schoolbooks or had expressed support for protests. They checked the students’ books and scanned their phones, taking screenshots of photos and social media posts.

“They had told Amir that if you tell your parents we will arrest your father,” his uncle, Ebi, a mechanical engineer who asked that his last name not be used, said by telephone from Tabriz. “They are terrorizing the kids because they are afraid of the future and they know these kids will fight for their rights.”

A mother in Shiraz said that the principal of Amin Lari High School, which her 14-year-old daughter attends, called the police and education department when students smashed framed pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the revolution, and chanted slogans in the yard. When they raided the school, the principal gave them access to surveillance cameras to identify students who had instigated the protest. Sixteen were suspended.


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