This footage shows Iranian regime forces savagely attacking students as they staged a peaceful sit-in in front of the oil ministry headquarters in the city of Abadan on Sunday, December 3. Many of the students, who were protesting at the lack of university services and rising unemployment in the impoverished region, were sleeping when the attack took place at around midnight. The protester narrating this footage says, “Here we are standing in front of the door of the oil ministry. It was 12 o’clock [midnight]; we were sleeping and the security forces carried out a raid and removed us as were staging a sit-in here to claim our rights. As you can see, this is one of our poor friends who was attacked with batons; they [the security officers] woke us up saying to us, ‘Here you don’t have any rights’. In this country, I swear to God, it’s worse than Afghanistan.”
The following day, the president of the city’s Industrial University of Oil, at which the students were studying, declared the university closed until further notice due to the continuing protests by the students, which began two weeks previously.
The students began the protests after the university administration reneged on its promise to pay tuition fees and allow more students to study there, with the university management cutting off the electricity and water supply to the campus as a means of attempting to force the students to abandon their demonstration.
A local source said that after cutting off the water and power proved unsuccessful, the university officials had closed the doors of the building, forcing the protesting students to hold their demonstration in freezing conditions in the hope that this might force the students to disperse. Despite this, the students announced their intention to continue their demonstration outside the building.
The Iranian Ministry of Oil had promised to pay the students’ tuition fees and to employ the graduates from the university, with only five percent of the thousands who applied for the small number of available places successful in obtaining scholarships, all hoping for employment in the oil sector following their graduation.
Due to the recent economic crisis in Iran, however, the oil ministry has reneged on these promises, angering both students and graduates who had studied hard in the hope of obtaining jobs which they were then denied.
With more than two million residents, Abadan is the second largest city in Al Ahwaz after the regional capital, Ahwaz city. The first and largest oil refinery was built there on the banks of the Shaat al-Arab in 1912 following a treaty between Sheikh Khazal al-Kaabi, the governor, and ruler of Ahwaz, then an autonomous emirate, and the British Ministry of Oil at the time. In 1925, Britain supported the then Shah of Iran to forcibly occupy and annex the emirate, making it part of Iran.