From the New York Times:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular professors from Iranian universities, the IRNA news agency reported.
“Today, students have the right to strongly criticize their president for the continued presence of liberal and secular professors in the country’s universities,” he told a group of young conservatives on National Youth Day, according to the news agency.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said the work to replace secular professors had started, but “bringing change is very difficult.”
“Our educational system has been affected by 150 years of secular thought and has raised thousands of people who hold Ph.D.’s,” he said. “Changing this system is not easy and we have to do it together.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments appeared to be part of a continuing crackdown on social and political freedoms that began with his election last year.
As part of the crackdown, about 110,000 illegal satellite dishes have been confiscated in the past five months, one senior official, Ahmad Roozbehani, was quoted in the news media as saying. Opposition channels that broadcast mostly out of the United States have a large audience in Iran.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s call to rid the universities of secular professors is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution of 1980 to 1987, the period after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when many liberal or Western professors were fired or forced to conform to the revolutionary line. The Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, which was set up during that time and oversaw the purges, is now headed by Mr. Ahmadinejad.
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