Systematically, Iran Shuts Down 'Star Students'

Brightest banned from study, work if thought to be 'dangerous'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 11:41 AM CST
Systematically, Iran Shuts Down 'Star Students'
Students protest on the Tehran University campus in Iran, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo)

Since last Sunday’s protest, Iran has arrested dozens on its “star students” list, in Tehran's latest effort to clamp down on youthful dissent. Iranian intelligence keeps a list of thousands of grad students it deems potentially dangerous, the Wall Street Journal explains. Students, who often find out about their status when they see stars next to their names in test results, are barred from any higher education and sometimes detained or interrogated.

One former Mousavi volunteer, for example, says the government told her she wouldn’t be allowed to attend law school, despite ranking No. 55 out of more than 70,000 students in the national entrance exams. Since the practice began in 2006, thousands have been similarly stymied. Students with one star must sign forms pledging to never engage in activism again, while those with two are suspended and usually interrogated. Those with three are banned from education for life. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has publicly denied and downplayed the program's existence. (More Iran stories.)

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