By Joseph El-Khoury
Soon after 9/11 many impulsive souls advocated that Arabs should be prevented form attending flying schools with the hope that this would help fight terrorism. Now other well meaning officials feel that Iranians cannot be trusted to handle technological knowledge. Recently, Dutch Universities started restricting access of Iranian students to some courses for fear that they might end up working on the Iranian nuclear program. It is doubtful whether in this day and age access to knowledge can be restricted in such an archaic manner. And how hard would it be to hire a former Soviet scientist or a North Korean engineer!? At first view these measures might seem reasonable and proportional but the ethical and moral implications are disturbing. Being born in one country or one ethnic group have always played a role in determining your chances in life or your career path but individuals with exceptional skills and determination managed to break through that ring fence and achieve in their chosen field. The price was usually emigration to the west and the brain drain. These new trends of University departments working closely with immigration officials threaten the credibility and independence of academic institutions in Europe and other parts of the world. It is a short-termist undemocratic move which, coupled with calls on developing countries to restrict their economic growth in order to help fight climate change, can only fuel the resentment of the third world towards the ‘arrogant’ West. It can also push countries such as Iran, which are at political odds with the US-led camp, on further self-reliance and opacity in their dealings with the International community on the nuclear programme and other contentious issues.
Dutch university bans Iranian students
Fri. 04 Jan 2008
By Ruben Temming
Iranian students are not welcome at the Technical University Twente in the town of Enschede. At the request of the Education Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the university has agreed not to admit any Iranian students. The government fears that Iranian students and workers would steal sensitive nuclear information to help their government develop nuclear weapons. The university's decision is the direct result of a 2006 UN resolution calling on member states to prevent Iran from gaining access to nuclear knowledge
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