Pro-regime speakers are regularly invited by University Basij 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, Basij event organisers shout back "Death to America!"


"Pro-regime speakers will keep on spreading propaganda despite the protests"

Ali is a student who lives in Tehran. He wishes to remain anonymous.

This level of aggressiveness towards pro-regime speakers is new: we have witnessed more and more mass outbursts like this since Ahmadinejad's re-election. The speakers are invited by Basij groups within the universities: they don't come to teach anything, it's just pro-government propaganda.

Hamid Rasaei was not well known before becoming an MP, but now he's famous for being one of Ahmadinejad's staunchest supporters and close advisers. He was one of the two Mullahs who went with the president on his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Opposing him so directly sends a very strong message to the government.

In every university where students have openly protested a pro-regime speaker, those viewed as ‘leaders' have been banned from returning to the universities. But students will keep on resisting: right now, people are behaving like they don't care what will happen to them. There is a feeling that even if they don't protest, repression will continue to be as hard, so what do they have to lose? Meanwhile, this kind of propaganda session has continued despite the protests - it almost seems as though it's some kind of government programme."