"Iranian university students ... have always been a leading force behind political movements in Iran"
Iran will "show no mercy" towards opposition protesters seen as threatening national security, a judiciary official said [December 8], a day after thousands of students staged anti-government rallies.
A nationwide rally on [December 7] to mark the killing of three students under the Shah turned violent when students clashed with security forces armed with batons and tear gas in the largest anti-government protests in months. "From now on, we will show no mercy towards anyone who acts against national security. They will be confronted firmly," said prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, accord-ing to the official IRNA news agency. The protests were a renewed fresh show of force following demonstrations that erupted after the June re-election of President Ahamdinejad, which the opposition said he won by rigging the vote. Monday's protests in Tehran were smaller than the post-election rallies but the mood seemed more radical with protesters chanting slogans against the clerical establish-ment and not just criticizing Ahmadinejad's re-election. Analysts said students had formed a bastion of support for opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi."Silencing universities will be difficult for the establishment. Ahmadinejad's fate may well hang on them," said one analyst, who asked not to be named. Iranian university students played a major role in toppling the US-backed Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi 30 years ago and have always been a leading force behind political movements in Iran, both before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution
("Iran vows 'no mercy' to protesters," Reuters,Egyptian Gazette, 9 Dec. '09)