Narrator: [It was cold outside, but] Weather reached the boiling point here in the hall. It was Student Day, and time for talking to President directly.
Student 1: Student movement — as one of the most important players in Moderation Discourse– believes that the best way to support the government is through responsible criticism, keeping in mind your government’s achievements particularly in economy and reaching an honorable agreement in international domain.
Student 2: Mr. President, if an individual in student movement or a [student] formation criticizes you or your respectful government and its cabinet member, it does not mean that they are enemies of you or Government of Prudence and Hope. So, you do not have to threaten them with different kinds of labels and accusations… How come that a 3 million toman marriage loan is given to newlyweds after going through a lot of rigid measures, but 25 million toman loans are easily allocated to elderlies of Iran Khodro and Saipa [car manufacturing companies]?
Student 3: From this podium, I thank you and your cabinet for all your efforts… When president’s senior advisor who is a graduate from this university himself announces that the only competitive edge of the country is in [making] vegetable stew and meat broth [abgoosht], then what hope remains for the country’s students?
Student 4: Mr. President are you aware of cold cultural atmosphere in this university which was your host for Student Day’s speech last year?
Student 5: We need an independent president who acts according to his slogans. If he claims that in previous periods, there were lies and false statistics, he himself does not lie or give false statistics. He would not assign a minister who in Crescent [Petroleum] dispute is not impartial; he would not assign someone who calls people traitors for not buying low quality cars. We want a president who is humble when criticized, and does not call his critics “cowards” and “without identity.”
Student 6: Students must be able to express their views without fear and inhibitions and with complete security—completely sure of freedom of expression and freedom after expression.
Narrator: But President who looked determined to listen to all harsh criticisms came to podium, welcoming criticisms.
President Rouhani: The best place for the power to be criticized is the university. Basically, words “responsible” and “question” come from the same root [in Farsi]. Well, of course, right now criticizing certain branches [of establishment] and certain institutions is a bit difficult. But let’s start with the government and the president.