Tehran: Iran`s top leader has paved the way for a government takeover of the country`s largest private university and a stronghold for moderates.
The Islamic Azad University is the centre of power for former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key supporter of Iran`s moderates.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a decree on Monday declaring the university`s endowment, or the means by which it stays independent, to be religiously illegitimate and thus null and void.
The university was a major resource for opposition protests against the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which opponents say was fraudulent.
The endowment, or vaqf in Farsi, was a strategy by founder Rafsanjani to keep the university independent. It can now be taken over by the state.