Dutch Parliament discusses their situation
Nine hundred Iranians study in the Netherlands
As protests in Iran rage on, the regime continues its attempts to quell them using brute force. Hundreds of protesters, including students, have been killed since September. The use of violence by the Iranian government has been condemned around the world. In the Netherlands, the "Green Left" party (in Dutch, GroenLinks) asked the Minister of Education, Robbert Dijkgraaf, how many Iranian students and academic staff there are in Dutch higher education institutions, and whether they need support.
Returns not being postponed
In October 2021, there were 424 Iranian students enrolled at universities of applied sciences and 475 at research universities. Students with dual citizenship are not included in these figures. How many Iranian academic staff there are is unknown because privacy laws make it impossible to filter personnel data by nationality. Some of them are in the Netherlands as part of the Erasmus+ exchange programme.
Despite the ongoing protests and dangers faced by academics in Iran, there are currently no signs that Iranians in the Netherlands are postponing their return, according to Dijkgraaf.
GroenLinks also wanted to know where Iranian nationals can turn for support. Minister Dijkgraaf replied that they can use the regular support resources available in higher education, such as student advisers and psychologists, as well as buddy programmes. In addition, many higher education institutions are also organising welfare and information sessions on the situation in Iran.
Staff and students at seven Dutch universities organised rallies to support the uprising in Iran. They responded to a global call from the international movement Iranian Scholars for Liberty. The protests in Iran started in September, when police ramped up its enforcement of a law that makes it compulsory for women to wear headscarves. The unrest spread to all parts of the country when the young Mahsa Amini died at a police station after being arrested for wearing her headscarf too loosely. Many Iranian students are participating in the protests.