[OPE] Iranian students barred from Dutch universities to prevent "nuclear knowledge"

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Sun Jun 15 2008 - 13:36:06 EDT

Statement summary by Harry van Bommel, Dutch Socialist Party:

The admissions policy of the technical universities of Eindhoven and Twente in The Netherlands has been adjusted at the request of the ministers Verhagen and Plasterk. The policy means that Iranian students are not allowed in, because they are likely to come into contact with "nuclear knowledge". This policy is allegedly based on sanctions of the United Nations to make possible actions by Iran to produce nuclear weapons more difficult. According to the Ministry of Education, the no admission policy is not an absolute requirement, but rather there is "great reluctance" to admit Iranian students. In fact however Iranian students are blocked from admission. 

What a nonsense. Iran does not need that at all. The nuclear power plant in Buhsehr will soon be operational, and Iran already has a uranium enrichment installation. The elementary knowledge that a student at TU gets, would not assist this programme at all. 

Like previous measures against Iran orchestrated primarily from the United States, this policy looks like it bypasses its goal. The Nobel Prize winner for Peace of 2003, Shirin Ebadi, has repeatedly warned that measures taken in the Iran nuclear controversy should not be taken against ordinary people, but against the rulers. But this education policy again affects mainly the ordinary Iranian. It affects mainly the predominantly young population of a country that wants to acquire knowledge, like the rest of the world. Following a study at a foreign university is an excellent option. 

With the history of the Pakistani nuclear spy Khan in mind, the cautious attitude of the Cabinet is understandable. But with the exclusion of people on the basis of nationality, we find ourselves on a slippery slope. Where do we draw the line? Are we going to draw up a list of dangerous states to block their entire population from participation in science? 

We hereby urge the Dutch government to refrain from the unreasonable requirement that they demand from the universities. That the U.S. does everything put to Iran in a bad light, is bad enough.


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