Friday, December 8

Iranian students ignore gender segregation and eat together at a Tehran university

Students, boys and girls, of a prestigious university in Tehran ate together on Monday, ignoring the segregation by sex imposed by Iran’s strict codes of conduct and after the authorities closed the dining room to prevent it.

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Sitting together on the floor, with long cloths as tablecloths, the students of the Sharif University of Technology shared lunch in a gesture of defiance that adds to the protests that have been going through the country for weeks over the death of Mahsa Amini, the young who died after being arrested by the moral police for wearing the veil incorrectly.

“The university students, like a family, ate together at the university, after the dining room closed,” reported the newspaper of the educational center Sharif Today. The text was accompanied by two photographs showed boys and girls eating together on the ground of the university courtyard.

The strict code of conduct of the Republic of Iran states that schools and institutes separate boys and girls, while universities admit students of both sexes, but maintain separate dining rooms.

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This new challenge to the rules imposed by the Iranian regime comes after incidents occurred at this university over the weekend, the scene of strong clashes with the security forces in early October, which had led the authorities to suspend face-to-face classes until last Saturday.

On the same day as its reopening, female students entered the male cafeteria wearing veils, breaking the rules of gender segregation, and 33 students were expelled. On Sunday, students protested the expulsions and, according to unverified videos, were attacked by members of the Basij, the Islamic volunteer militia. The response of the students was to eat this Monday on the ground of the center, a situation that was repeated in other Iranian universities.

This was the case at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, where after two hours of protest, male and female students managed to eat together in the dining room, according to unverified videos shared on social media.

The protests that Iran has been experiencing since mid-September are mainly led by young people and women shouting “women, life, freedom”. During the demonstrations, slogans against the government are launched and veils are burned, one of the symbols of the Islamic Republic, something unthinkable not long ago.

The universities have become one of the main points of protests, whose repression has caused at least 108 deaths, according to the NGO Iran Human Rightsbased in Oslo.