An interview with Mohammadali Hajimoniri

Isfahan student’s movement (2)

Mehdi Amani Yamin
Translated by Mohammad Ayyoobi


Note: We did an interview titled as “Isfahan Polytechnic University students movement “with Mohammadali  Hajimoniri in first days of last October .He was graduated from the Isfahan Polytechnic University and now is an  industrial manager . In this interview, he explained about Isfahan university students activities. This interview paved the way for another somehow long comprehensive interview about those days and years activities, introduced this week.


*In the last interview, you stated that most of your friends in Isfahan Polytechnic University were from Mashhad. Those 20 to 30 friends were mostly religious and they were not leftist. Why there was no leftist among your friends? Were your friends influenced by Dr.Shariati views and religious atmosphere in Mashhad?

Yes my friends were mostly from Mashhad and they were all I honestly religious say that not in those days nor today I had not this in my mind. None of my friends in Isfahan Polytechnic University and in Mashhad was leftist. All my friends were religious. Some of my friends in Mashhad were leftist when I started studying in Isfahan Polytechnic University; however, there was no leftist among my classmates in Isfahan Polytechnic University and I myself have no special analysis in this regard. However, it is interesting that we notice that there was so many Mashhadies (people from Mashhad) among the founders of leftist groups. For example, most of Cherik Fadaee Khalgh organization (an Iranian leftist organization) founders were from Mashhad, such as Puyan family and Ahmadi family.  None of The Mashhadi students in Isfahan Polytechnic University was leftist and I do not know why. Moreover, I myself have no special analysis in this regard.

Some Mashhadi students in Tehran University, Tehran Polytechnic University and Elmo Sanat (silence and techniques) University were leftist. Moreover, we knew them. There were some leftist people in Mashhad but there no leftist among Mashhadi students in Isfahan Polytechnic University. I cannot remember even one Mashhadi leftist student among those who entered in Isfahan Polytechnic University in 1978.  Although it is possible that some different students entered in Isfahan Polytechnic University in 1979 and the following years. In Maybe, about 20 to 30 students or half of the students were political and social activist.


Were the first students who entered the Isfahan Polytechnic University your colleagues? How did Tehran Polytechnic University transferred to Isfahan Polytechnic University? Had Tehran Polytechnic University students been transfer to Isfahan?

We were the first students. No, they were not transferred to Isfahan. One of my friends said last night:” we registered in Tehran Polytechnic University but received our ID card in Isfahan Polytechnic University and later graduated in Isfahan Polytechnic University. Why? “.Because

Political activities in Tehran Polytechnic University were noticeable in those days and many partisan movements in those days rooted in Tehran Polytechnic University. Moreover, since Tehran Polytechnic University located in the middle of Tehran and was close to society, they decided to vacate it due to security considerations. They transferred Tehran Polytechnic University to Isfahan suburb. Perhaps we cannot claim that Savak (Iran intelligence service before Revolution) decided it, however it was said that Savak was responsible for this decision. I do not know whether SAVAK or other security officials were responsible for or not.


Was this view prevalent among the students in those days?

Yes, students noticed the matter gradually after 1978. One or two years later, everybody completely noticed that the process was pre-decided during the previous years. I believe this was true. In those days, before and in the year 1978, the best mathematic students registered in Tehran Polytechnic University. In fact, these students were so talented in mathematics and they were very genial. Their average intelligence was higher than the ordinary people were.  Therefore, these students could not remain indifferent toward social problems. When they noticed the social problems, the chased the matter and turned to a social or political activist. The atmosphere of the campus was prepared for newcomers as they had the opportunity to meet the senior students. This situation tended them to turn into a socio-political activist.  The Tehran Polytechnic University officials performed another measure. They decided to provide scholarship for prominent students for continuing education abroad. The students were supposed to come back Iran and start teaching in Isfahan Polytechnic University. This process had begun in Tehran some years before that time. It was to start this process when the building of the university in Isfahan started. They had decided to accept students in Isfahan Polytechnic University in 1356.When we were going to choose university; we thought we should go to polytechnic. As Polytechnic transferred to Isfahan, we went to Isfahan but we did not know why. When we asked, they said to us the Tehran University was located in a plat so it transferred to Isfahan. The location allocated for Isfahan University was so vast and we went there with this in our mind. When we went there, we sow a desert with some unfinished buildings. As we were the first students in Isfahan Polytechnic University, there were no senior students there.


We can say the elite and leader students were out of your reach in Isfahan Polytechnic University. Is it the case?

Exactly, we did not have any guide in Isfahan and the senior students remained in Tehran. It decided for them to graduate in Tehran, and the new students guided to Isfahan. The Isfahan Polytechnic University admitted first student in 1978. Science Ministry did not accept students for Tehran Polytechnic University in 1979. In spring 1979, the Tehran Polytechnic University renamed to Sharif Polytechnic University and the university in Isfahan renamed to Isfahan Polytechnic University.

I mean in 1978, there were no senior students in Isfahan Polytechnic University. I remember only 660 students as newcomers admitted to 16 majors. In the course of any development in the University, those students themselves were trying to find the path they should precede without any leader. Some newcomers had links with some students in other universities but it was not so pivotal.


The Movements in Universities started in October 1978. How did it start and what was the base of students’ demands?    

Yes, the movements in Universities started in October and as I remember, there were two bases in the activities. The first was why the university transferred, and the second was more accommodation for the university.

We were isolated, in a desert with no connection to the surrounding society. I remember that there was a minibus by which we went to city to buy our needs in specific times. I mean we were depended to the city for food.  The University for Us was like a prison. For example, we were supposed to be present for dinner at 8:30 or 9 o’clock and if we were absent, we could not find dinner later that time. Moreover, there was no grass and there was a lot of dust in the environment. We felt we were isolated in a big prison. This turned to be students’ guild demand in October 1978.


What was the atmosphere in the building?

  As I remember the building with cement textures in appearance. There were two dormitories. One numbered as nine and the other numbered as ten. In the building number six, there were some laboratories and some classes. The structure of the buildings was different. Those allocated for classes were different from those allocated for dormitories. There was an amphitheater with eight halls. All classes convened in the halls. Just foreign language class convened in the building number 6. The whole university summarized in the buildings.

 The Isfahan Polytechnic University building has grandeur today. The Isfahan Polytechnic University was unique in those days. Isfahan Polytechnic University included so many collegiate. There were just these buildings there. 

The two dormitory buildings (no.9 and no.10) were beside each other and their surface covered with concrete. The surface was gray and the earth was khaki color. This created a nostalgic atmosphere. Imagine you are isolated with no connection to the society, you may not walk in the street, you are in desert or in the room lonely, and you are at your dormitory looking the opposite dormitory. This was the case for other students.

All these turned to be students’ guild demand. There was another guild demand for students. It was family relationship and friendship among students in different Universities. For example older brothers and friends or classmates in high school who admitted in universities. They contacted each other in different universities, for example Pahlavi University, Shiraz University, all Tehran Universities. We were aware of political atmosphere in other Universities. When we noticed, we said:” the atmosphere in our University is different from the atmosphere in other Universities. The students in other Universities talk about society, follow their demands, and have some critics.”


To be continued...

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