Iran Expands Gender Segregation in Universities

Reuters

Iranian students studying Persian carpet weaving adjust their looms at a classroom in Isfahan Art University, 450 km (280 miles) south of Tehran November 14, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • The Islamic Revolution has been a work in progress since its victory in 1979. @MRubin1971

    Tweet This

  • Though revolutionaries were united in opposition to the Shah, they had no consensus on what Islamic society/culture meant.

    Tweet This

  • After the Iran-Iraq War, universities became incubators for the reformist movement. @MRubin1971

    Tweet This

  • Iranian gov. may hope that youth can be “re-educated” by redesigning universities to prioritize religious indoctrination.

    Tweet This

Editor's Note: FMSO’s Operational Environment Watch provides translated selections and analysis from a diverse range of foreign articles and other media that analysts and expert contributors believe will give military and security experts an added dimension to their critical thinking about the Operational Environment.

Source: “Tasis 6 Wahad Tek Genseti dar Daneshgah Azad” (“Establish of 6 Single-Gender Units in Azad University,”) Iranian Student News Agency. 3 July 2012

Rubin: The Islamic Revolution has from its victory in 1979 been a work in progress. Revolutionaries were united in their opposition to the Shah, but had no consensus on what Islamic society and culture meant. Revolutionary authorities have always paid special attention to the universities. The revolution was carried on the back of student unrest, and it was hardline students who seized the U.S. embassy nine months after Ayatollah Khomeini’s return. Upon seizing the reins of power, revolutionary authorities sought to implement a cultural revolution in the universities to purge them of Western influence. Revolutions evolve, however, and as Iran rebuilt after the Iran-Iraq War, universities became incubators for the reformist movement.

"The Islamic Revolution has from its victory in 1979 been a work in progress." -Michael RubinWhen Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 he sought to revive traditional revolutionary values. Indeed, what many Western analysts call ‘hardliners,’ Iranians call ‘principalists,’ meaning those who reach back to the principles of the Islamic Revolution. In order to re-root the universities in traditional values, Ahmadinejad has ordered unknown soldiers from the Iran-Iraq War—called martyrs in traditional Iranian parlance—to be buried on university campuses in ceremonies which students and faculty are forced to attend.

While the universities of Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan may be Iran’s most famous centers of higher education, the Islam Azad University has become the Islamic Republic’s largest. Founded during the early years of the revolution, the Islam Azad University was the brainchild of former President ‘Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, largely to get 18 to 22 year olds off the street. The university branches are basically akin to a national community college system.

While they taught basic trades and general subjects, the principalists long complained that the Islam Azad University system was not ideological enough. Ahmadinejad and his allies spent several years during his first term trying to wrest control of the university system away from Rafsanjani’s allies.

Recent moves to begin gender segregation in the Islam Azad University system are one more sign that the hardliners have consolidated control and might presage the start of a new cultural revolution inside Iran. While many Western officials are optimistic that Iranian youth seek Western freedoms, the Iranian government may hope that the youth can be “re-educated” by redesigning universities to prioritize religious indoctrination.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Rubin

What's new on AEI

Rebuilding American defense: A speech by Governor Bobby Jindal
image Smelling liberal, thinking conservative
image Stopping Ebola before it turns into a pandemic
image All too many reasons for pessimism about Europe
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.