Iran General NewsIran forces lecturers to disclose all foreign trips

Iran forces lecturers to disclose all foreign trips

-

The Guardian: University lecturers in Iran are to be forced to tell security authorities of all foreign trips in advance in a move aimed at preventing them from being recruited as western spies. The Guardian

· Fear of academics being recruited as western spies
· Security must be told even before tourist travel

Robert Tait in Tehran

University lecturers in Iran are to be forced to tell security authorities of all foreign trips in advance in a move aimed at preventing them from being recruited as western spies.

The restriction will extend to private tourist journeys and pilgrimages, as well as academic trips funded by foreign institutions. It follows official accusations that the west is trying to exploit Iranian academics for espionage purposes.

The new rule – set out in a government circular disclosed by the officially-linked Baztab website – toughens existing regulations requiring scholars to give university security services prior notice of academic trips being paid for by their own institutions. The move is the latest in a series of measures intensifying scrutiny of Iran’s academics, who have been identified by the country’s Islamic rulers as a potential fifth column in alleged US-backed plots to foment a “soft revolution”.

Last year Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, urged fundamentalist students to demand the sacking of liberal or pro-western lecturers.

In May a senior intelligence official publicly warned academics that they would come under suspicion if they maintained contacts with foreigners or travelled abroad to conferences and seminars. The official accused western intelligence agencies of trying to recruit Iranian scholars under the guise of forging scientific or academic links.

Scholars at Iranian universities say the warnings have already had the effect of drying up contacts with the outside world. “In the light of how things are developing, many people just aren’t attending seminars abroad any more. There is just too much risk involved,” one lecturer told the Guardian. “Foreign academics are no longer coming to Iran either. It’s more difficult for students of Iranian studies to get visas to come, either as part of their courses or when applying for conferences.”

Iran has recently accused three Iranian-American academics and one journalist of espionage and acting against national security. One of them, Haleh Esfandiari, Middle East director at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, a Washington thinktank, was released on bail last week after three and a half months in prison.

The suspicion has also extended to students. Iran’s intelligence minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ezhei, warned at the weekend that students who made contact with the US and foreigners would be “confronted”.

“We will confront those who are currently studying in universities under the guise of being students and have contact with foreigners and White House statesmen,” he said. “They will be confronted because we believe they are not university students but are seeking to destroy the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

His comments follow the arrests of several student activists in recent months.

Latest news

Iranians Don’t Buy Officials’ Publicity Stunts

Studying Iran's rising social situation since the 2009 uprising draws our attention to important achievements. During this period, several nationwide...

Iranian Women Are the Most Affected by Extreme Poverty

Following a gathering of more than 100,000 in Paris on October 17, 1987, to remember the victims of violence,...

One in Three Iranians Live Below the Poverty Line

How much did the minimum intake cover the poverty line in Iran in the 2000s? How much were the...

Future of Iran’s Government at Threat As Crises Worsen

For more than four decades, Iran has had inflation rates in double-digits which have left the country in a...

Iran’s Government Plays Hopscotch With the JCPOA

For about four months, nuclear negotiations over Iran’s nuclear file have been stopped. Meanwhile, with the start of Ebrahim...

FATF Rules for Iranian Government To Remain on Their Blacklist

Following meetings that took place on October 19 – 21, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to...

Must read

Iran opposition compares its struggle to the American Revolution

Fox News: The leader of the Iranian opposition likens its...

Iran suspends Renault car project

Reuters: Iran has suspended a joint venture project to...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you