IRAN: University at the heart of a power struggle

A dispute in Iran over control of a vast network of semi-private universities is starting to resemble a bitter custody battle, pitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against one of his political rivals, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, for control of the schools and the 1.5 million faculty members and students, write Ramin Mostaghim and Meris Lutz for the Los Angeles Times blog Babylon & Beyond.

Last Tuesday parliament rejected legislation introduced by Ahmadinejad that would have given the government greater control over the Islamic Azad University system, dealing another blow to the president in his efforts to rein in the opposition movement that has taken root on many university campuses.

The measure would have challenged the status of the university system's assets as a tax-exempt endowment and allowed Ahmadinejad to appoint a new dean and trustees. The parliament's decision is considered a victory for Rafsanjani, the former president and power broker who sits on Azad's board of trustees.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site

The opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran reported student protests at the Arts University in Tehran last Sunday. The protestors clashed with government forces. On the same day, hundreds of intelligence agents allegedly surrounded the area in front of the University of Tehran's main gate and prevented people from entering the campus.
Full report on the National Council of Resistance of Iran site