Iran's Minister of Education has replaced over 20,000 principals in a move that many see as an attempt to purge schools after nationwide protests.
Reza Morad Sahraei revealed on Thursday that 7,000 schools have been earmarked for participation in the “transformation plan”, after many school students took part in anti-government protests.
The plan will be implemented in 5,000 schools in the current Iranian year ending on March 20, 2024, with a commitment to continue the changes, added Sahraei.
It appears that the purge, which began with universities, has now extended to schools. Since the commencement of anti-regime protests in September 2022, the Iranian government has dismissed scores of university professors.
Etemad, a prominent reformist daily in Iran, published an article in August highlighting 52 professors who have faced dismissal, forced retirement, or teaching restrictions.
Earlier in August, the same publication released a list of 157 tenured professors who were terminated due to their critical and dissenting views, spanning from 2006 to the end of August 2023. The extensive purging effort encompasses not only tenured faculty but also non-tenured lecturers who are being replaced by professors with a more "religious" and "revolutionary" orientation.
The notion of "political purification," as described in Iranian media, goes beyond educational institutions and encompasses various other organizations and institutions where regime hardliners are sidelining their rivals. The term "purification" was coined by former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to describe the actions of the ultraconservative allies of President Raisi, who seek to consolidate government power by marginalizing other politicians and officials.
According to some reports, President Raisi intends to introduce 15,000 "revolutionary" professors into academic faculties nationwide.