Confederation of Iranian Students

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Confederation of Iranian Students
Confederation of Iranian Students National Union
کنفدراسیون جهانی محصلین و دانشجویان ایرانی – اتحادیه ملی
PredecessorIranian Students Association in the United States,
Confederation of Iranian Students (Europe)
Formationearly 1960s
Typenon-governmental organization
Formerly called
Federation of Iranian Students' Islamic Societies in Europe and America

Confederation of Iranian Students National Union (Persian: کنفدراسیون جهانی محصلین و دانشجویان ایرانی – اتحادیه ملی; Konfederāsīūn-e jahānī-e moḥaṣṣelīn wa dānešjūyān-e īrānī etteḥādīya-ye mellī, simply known as the Confederation, or the Federation of Iranian Students)[1] was an international non-governmental organization purposed as the students' union of Iranians studying abroad active during the 1960s and 1970s.[2] It was more active in Germany, France, England and the United States, among other countries.[2] The Confederation was a politically autonomous organization, made up by sympathizers of different Iranian opposition groups to Shah.[2]


In 1952, the Iranian Students Association in the United States (ISAUS) had been founded, an effort by the Iranian embassy and American Friends of the Middle East, which has since been linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[2] In April 1960 student representatives from Germany, France, and England met in Heidelberg and established the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) in Europe.[2] These two groups ISAUS and CIS merged to form the Confederation of Iranian Students National Union.[3]

By the 1960s, there had been an international emergence of political opposition to the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's leadership in Iran.[2] Many additional student groups supporting the Iranian opposition organized together to join the Confederation, including the Iran Liberation Movement, Socialist League of the Iranian National Movement, Revolutionary Organization of the Tudeh Party, Storm Marxist-Leninist Organization, as well as others.[2]

In 1965, some CISNU leaders were arrested for attempting to murder Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; as a result the event the group pushed towards more "radicalization".[3] By 1971, the Iranian government stated CISNU to be an illegal group.[3]

In 1973, Iranian passport holders that were officially recorded as holding foreign student visas was counted at 18,035 people; and of that number 93% of them were male.[4] With 42% of these students living in the United States, 24% in Germany, 10% in the United Kingdom, 6% in Austria, and 5% in France.[4]


In May and June 1967, the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi visited West Germany.[5] On June 2, 1967 in West Berlin, Iranian and German students (including the Socialist German Student Union) protested the Shahs visit, and it resulted in one student dying.[5][6] The CISNU were part of the forefront of European-wide protests in 1967 and 1968.[3]

On October 14, 1971, a bomb exploded around 11:30 PM in the Iranian Consulate San Francisco [Wikidata] located at 3400 Washington Street while the 2500th anniversary of the creation of the Persian empire was being celebrated in Iran. The explosion did not cause any injuries. Prior to that, the consulate had been the site of protests against the Shah's regime and policies. So, some linked this event to the Confederation. However, the leaders of the Confederation of Iranian Students in the Bay Area denied responsibility.[1][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rachlin, Nahid (2007-12-27). Persian Girls: A Memoir. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-00770-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Matin-Asgari, Afshin (December 15, 1992). "Confederation of Iranian Students, National Union". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. 2. Vol. VI. New York City: Bibliotheca Persica Press. pp. 122–125. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Confederation of Iranian Students". Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  4. ^ a b Matin-Asgari, Afshin (December 15, 1997). "Education xxi. Education Abroad". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume VIII. Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation. p. 226-230. Retrieved 2022-01-28.
  5. ^ a b Abadi, Eskandar (February 6, 2017). "50 years ago: How the Shah of Iran's visit impacted German history". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  6. ^ Michel, Eckard (2017). Schahbesuch 1967. Fanal für die Studentenbewegung [The Shah's Visit in 1967. Beacon of the Student Movement] (in German). Links Christoph Verlag. ISBN 978-3861539438.
  7. ^ "Explosion At The Iranian Consulate In San Francisco". CBS5 KPIX-TV (video). October 15, 1971.

Further reading[edit]

  • Matin-Asgari, Afshin (2000). کنفدراسیون، تاریخ جنبش دانشجویان ایرانی در خارج از کشور ۵۷–۱۳۳۲، [Confederation - History of the Iranian Students' Movement Abroad 1979-1954] (in Persian). Shirazeh Publishing and Research Institute. ISBN 964-6578209.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions. Limited Paperback Editions, Princeton Studies on the Near East. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691101347.