Iran General News UK culture body halts Iran work

UK culture body halts Iran work

-

ImageBBC: The British Council says it has suspended all operations in Tehran after staff members were intimidated by the Iranian authorities.

BBC News

ImageThe British Council says it has suspended all operations in Tehran after staff members were intimidated by the Iranian authorities.

Iran has denied visas for any British staff and all local employees resigned after being summoned to the president's office, the council says.

The council, which promotes cultural and educational ties, says pressure has been growing over its activities.

An Iranian embassy spokesman in London said he would investigate the report.

'Deliberate act'

There have been no British staff at the council since Tehran stopped granting visas two years ago, the council's London-based chief executive, Martin Davidson, told the BBC News website.

That left its 16 local employees, most of whom were summoned to the Iranian Office of the President in December, where they were ordered to resign from their posts, Mr Davidson said.

"It was a very deliberate act that essentially made it impossible for us to operate there," he added.

Earlier in December, two Iranian staff members had their passports confiscated while trying to leave the country to attend a meeting.

"These actions by the Iranian authorities are unacceptable," Mr Davidson said. "They are designed to pressurise our staff with the clear intention of stopping our cultural and educational work in the country."

The organisation said operations would resume only when employees are able to conduct their work "without fear of intimidation or harassment".

'No winners'

The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been very suspicious of foreign cultural influences, the BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran says.

It has criticised the BBC's new Persian TV service, barred British correspondents and recently denied visas to an American badminton team.

Part of the reason may be nervousness before Mr Ahmadinejad runs for re-election in June, our correspondent says.

The British Council says about 13,000 Iranians took part in its programmes in Tehran last year, which included English lessons and university and research partnerships.

The council's Iranian partners have also been instructed to reduce or stop their work with the organisation, Mr Davison said.

"There are no winners here," he said. "Our staff in Iran have lost their jobs, our Iranian partners have lost opportunities to work with the UK, and young people in Iran and the UK have lost the chance to build links that can last a lifetime."

Mr Davidson says there are various Iranian cultural centres in the UK, which serve a similar purpose to the British Council in Tehran.

"The end result is that they are keen to have a relationship, but they are not prepared to have a two-way street," he says.

Mr Davidson says he hopes to meet the Iranian authorities to work out an agreement to resume work.

There has been no comment yet from Iranian officials.

Latest news

Political Rivalries Amplify as More Iranians Go Below Poverty Line

For years, all Iranian factions have promised to improve the living conditions of people but every single time that...

Violence Against Women Still Going Strong in Iran

November 25 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, but for Iranian women that is...

Iranian Authorities Use Coronavirus as a Political Reason

In Iran, every political, social, and economic issue becomes a confusing mess. Due to the government's perspectives, all the...

Iran Diplomat on Trial for Terrorism

Friday, November 27, 2020, is a day that will go down in the history books as the first time...

Iranian Officials Deceptively Play with Unemployment Statistics

The Iranian government's corrupt and incompetent officials have presented a new show with their lies about the statistics of...

Mandatory Hijab State-Sponsored Violence Against Women in Iran

The Iranian government's most prevalent form of violence against women is the mandatory hijab. In this respect, 100 percent...

Must read

Iran bars Tehran mayor from U.S. transport ceremony

Reuters: Iran has barred the mayor of Tehran from...

Argentina says Iran committed to probing 1994 bombing

Reuters: Iran has approved a deal with Argentina to...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you