Iranian university offers scholarships to expelled student protesters in US and Europe

Mohammad Moazzeni, head of the Shiraz University made the offer to American students following Columbia protests


Pro-Palestinian student protesters lock arms at the entrance to Hamilton Hall on the campus of Columbia University as dozens of police officers flooded the campus in the heart of New York City on 30 April, 2024. (Photo by Jia Wu / AFP) (Photo by JIA WU/AFP via Getty Images)

An Iranian university is reportedly offering scholarships to American and European students who have been expelled from their universities for participating in pro-Palestine demonstrations.

According to the Iranian state-owned outlet Press TV, Mohammad Moazzeni, head of Shiraz University in the southern region of Fars, announced the decision during a gathering of students and professors on Monday as a gesture of “solidarity”.

“Students and even professors who have been expelled or threatened with expulsion can continue their studies at Shiraz University and I think that other universities in Shiraz as well as Fars Province are also prepared [to provide the conditions],” Moazzeni reportedly said.

Since the mass protests began at Columbia University on 18 April, over 1,000 people have been arrested across dozens of campuses, and similar protests have spread to the UK, Canada, Australia, France and Italy.

Clashes between students and police have only appeared to intensify and, on Tuesday, Columbia University threatened demonstrators with expulsion after they took over a campus building and barricaded the exits.

Moazzeni criticised the police response to these demonstrations, saying, according to Press TV: “They exert a lot of violence in order to contain this raging movement and have even threatened to expel the students from universities and hinder their employment in the future, and such autocratic methods show the decline of global arrogance.”

Iran, a key benefactor and supplier of weapons for Hamas, is a longstanding backer of the Palestinians, a cause which the country adopted following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Shiraz University, formerly known as Pahlavi University, is one of Iran’s most prestigious universities and is listed among the top three research institutions in the country. The university has been contacted for comment.

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