University a Platform for Criticizing Government

University a Platform for  Criticizing GovernmentUniversity a Platform for  Criticizing Government

President Hassan Rouhani described the academia as the best critics of the government, whose constructive criticisms can help the society stay on the right path to uphold the principles of democracy.

"Universities are best places to criticize the ruling power," Rouhani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

"In any country, if those in power ban criticism, it will fall into totalitarianism."

Rouhani made the statements in a speech at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology on the occasion of National Student Day on Monday.

The day marks the anniversary of the murder of three Tehran University students on December 7, 1953, by the security police of the former Pahlavi regime.

The police opened fire on the students protesting the resumption of Iran's relations with Britain and a visit by then US vice president Richard Nixon to Iran, following a coup staged by the CIA and MI6, which toppled the elected government of then prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.

The president said, "Universities and their students should criticize us. We welcome their criticisms, provided they are constructive."

He noted that independence and freedom of universities are of paramount importance.

"If universities are denied freedom of expression and [freedom] in conducting research, we won't be able to meet our targets to develop the human capital and promote scientific and cultural development," he said.

"Every official should be accountable to the public. No one can evade accountability to the people."

Pointing to the historic deal reached with major powers in July, the president called on universities to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the accord to foster scientific cooperation with other countries.

Rouhani noted that conditions prevailing presently, following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official title of the deal, augur well for economic development and interaction with the world.

The action plan will grant Iran sanctions relief in exchange for temporary constraints on its nuclear program.

The removal of sanctions after the action plan goes into force in the coming months will open up Iran's unexploited economy to enthusiastic foreign businesses and will give it access to billions of dollars in frozen assets overseas.