Pro-regime speakers are regularly invited by University Bassij to speak before students – but since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election in June, they face increasingly hostile audiences. On November 16, one of Ahmadinejad’s staunchest supporters was booed to silence with calls of “murderer” and “liar, go away!” But students often pay the price for their outspokenness.
Mullah Hamid Rasaei, a prominent Member of Parliament and one of Ahmadinejad’s most vocal supporters, was invited to speak at the Imam Khomeini University of Qazvim, a town near Tehran. A few minutes into his speech, however, he is forced to abandon the floor after being drowned out by the slogans and shouts of angry students. He tries to raise his voice and rebuke the crowd for insulting him, but his words only fuel the student’s anger. Cries of “Students will die but never give up!” ring out, along with slogans of “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to Russia!” (many opponents of Ahmadinejad believe that his government is being propped up by Russia). Meanwhile, Bassij event organisers shout back “Death to America!”