Angry protests, empty seats overshadow Rouhani speech

Al-Monitor – “Universities should be a venue for dialogue. As student representatives, we are walking out of this venue in protest,” a union leader declared loudly, interrupting a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during an Oct. 16 ceremony that marked a belated commencement of the academic year at the University of Tehran — the country’s largest higher education center.

The union leaders were infuriated by what they found as a “selective” process allowing only a handpicked number of students to speak at the podium. They decried the “show” and “an atmosphere of flattery” staged by Rouhani subordinates at a venue where many seats remained vacant.

“You have only one year left to your presidency and still want to maintain this policy of censorship and selectiveness?” one student asked Rouhani on Twitter as videos of the disrupted speech went viral.

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