Iranian students in Colorado feel forgotten as they watch their country unraveling from afar

As protesters demand equal women’s rights and freedom, Iranian students in Colorado are asking — will their government heed the call and will Americans stand in solidarity?

Tatiana Flowers
The Colorado Sun
Shahriar Shah Heydari is a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State’s Natural Resource Ecology Lab. Heydari says he witnessed discrimination against women while still living in Iran, and now pushes for greater awareness in Colorado of injustices in his home country.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America

Iranian students who attend Colorado State University are pushing for greater awareness and understanding of the injustices against women in their home country, and said they’re disappointed that Coloradans, American politicians and university leaders aren’t more vocal and supportive of them and their families’ plight.

As unprecedented mass protests continue in Iran, the students in Fort Collins have put up a table at their school to educate others about what has led to mass protests there. They’ve helped organize rallies in support of Iranian demonstrators and have pressured university leaders into sending an email that they say is too little and came too late.

Iranian students at CSU said they remain upset about how the university is not supporting them enough as dangerous mass protests continue in their home country. The students said they’ve wanted school leaders to educate the entire CSU community about how women are treated in Iran, which would shine a light on the abuses their loved ones face, and would show solidarity to Iranians in Colorado and the rest of the country. 

Rick Miranda, CSU’s interim president, said in an email to the Colorado Sun, the school supports its Iranian students, who are personally impacted by the inhumane treatment of protesters there. Demonstrators are defending basic human rights, he said, and everyone plays an important role when condemning suppression of those inalienable rights.

“We can only imagine the frustration that our Iranian students are experiencing, and we feel it too,” he told The Sun. “Ultimately, this isn’t about campus-wide emails from the interim president or a single university with limited reach but about the need for greater awareness worldwide, about the ongoing human rights violations and brutal treatment of civil rights protestors in Iran.”


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.