In recent years, there has been no dearth of bad news concerning social scientists: arrests, expulsions, forced retirements followed by isolation, exile, and even occasional death from despair. In Iran Social scientists have been targets of wild and baseless accusations. At worst, they have been depicted as spies and threats to national security, and at best, they have been considered useless and expendable. Such accusations have paved the way for periodical mass expulsions and continued harassment of social scientists in Iran. Fearing harsher reprisals, many have decided not to voice any dissent.
In the absence of unions and the conspicuous absence of academic freedom, any form of mutual support among professors is susceptible to being construed as a political act, potentially jeopardizing the well-being of all parties involved. Within this context, our roundtable is intended to explore a spectrum of potential avenues for extending support to students and our fellow academics through the auspices of the international academic community. Additionally, we are keenly interested in fostering discourse on academic freedom in Iran but also within the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.