Kings and Queens

February 18, 1977 — New York Daily News

The Mossadegh Project | February 1, 2020                    


The “Son of Sam” serial killings in New York and protests against the Shah of Iran’s murderous dictatorship made major headlines in 1977, and reporter Peter Bernstein reported on both that year for the Daily News.

Queens College Yields
To Anti-Iran Sit-in


About 50 Queens College students protesting what they call oppression in Iran and a college “program of cooperation” with an Iranian university stormed into the office of Acting President Nathaniel Siegel yesterday, pressured him into suspending part of the contract, and began a sit-in.

Siegel, reversing an earlier stand that a faculty committee would investigate the matter, said that the college would immediately suspend the part of the agreement with the National University of Iran that called for maintaining a list of graduate Iranian students in the United States.

The protesting students, who are demanding that the entire contract be abrogated, charged that the list could be useful to the Iranian secret police. Many of the protesters said that they were members of either the Iranian Students Association or the Revolutionary Student Brigade.

On Tuesday, six other persons from the same groups, also protesting alleged oppression in Iran, chained themselves to the Statue of Liberty and hung banners from the statue’s crown.

Invaded His Office

The Queens College protest began at 1 p.m. as the students marched in front of the academic building carrying signs and chanting “Stop the Shah.”

The group then paraded over to the student cafeteria where one student climbed on top of a table and spoke through a bullhorn. The group then returned to the academic building and invaded Siegel’s 10th floor office. The students said that they would not leave the office until Siegel put his promise to suspend part of the contract on paper.

Iranian students all of whom asked not to be identified said that the computerized list of names called for in the contract would help SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, expand its network.

“This is a deal with a fascist regime,” one student from Teheran said.

Iran Paying $100,000

The disputed contract, which was signed by City University Chancellor Robert Kibbee and former Queens College President Joseph Murphy last April, calls for setting up an educational-cultural program between Queens College and the National University of Iran. Part of the contract specified that “a clearing house and an information center for the National University of Iran” would be set up at Queens College.

Spiegel said that the Iranian university had deposited $100,000 in an account to cover the cost of the center and the program.

John Moyne, chairman of the computer science department and a signer of the agreement with Iran, defended the contract in the campus newspaper. “As long as there is no political interference, as long as I see this to be of mutual benefit to the two universities, then I will continue to support it and work for it,” he said.

But Charles Cairns, a professor of linguistics, charged that “the existence of such a center at Queens College is a clear and present danger to the civil liberties of Iranian students not only at Queens, but throughout the United States.”

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
The untold story behind Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's famous quote “If I sit silently, I have sinned”


Related links:

Iran teach-in at UIUC Protesting Shah’s 2,500 Years of Monarchy Party (Oct. 12, 1971)

Iran Doesn’t Need Stockpile of Arms | The Charleston Gazette, August 4, 1976

Iran Opposition Pledges Extended Sitdown Strike | Associated Press, Dec. 16, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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