Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Moeen on Iranians abroad

In my previous post, I said that none of the candidates had shown any interest in discussing the situation of the Iranians living outside the country. Browsing Moeen's website, I came across his comments on this issue so it seems that at least one of the candidates is in fact interested.
He was asked about his agenda "to invite Iranians living abroad to invest in Iran". In reply, he had this to say:
"Iranians as persons are more important than their money. People who are standing on the best intellectual levels of Western countries [sic] and they are much more valuable to us than their money. In order to have them back in the country, we must first promote the social and economic status of our intellectual elites and management so that we can make sure no [Iranian citizen] would ever prefer to live away from home rather than to live in their home country".
Moeen's comments may be music to the ears of some of his supporters. However, one must not forget that Moeen served as Minister of Higher Education (the title of the Ministry later changed to Science, Research, and Technology) for almost seven years. During this time, there was no major improvement in higher education. Universities offer minimum service to students. University of Tehran, the top Iranian university, has no dormitory of its own. Non-Tehrani students who can not afford to pay expensive rents in Tehran have to stay in Uni dorms, where they will have to share their room with at least 4 (sometimes 8)other students.
Academic situation is not any better. Particularly in human sciences, including politics and law, research remains very limited due to 'sensitivity' of issues involved. Faculties are not producing updated knowledge. At Tehran Law School, for example, some professors still rely on outdated notes from 1970s when discussing new issues. Access to foreign language journals is also minimal and very limited.
As the Minister for Higher eduacation, Moeen surely had enough time to improve this appalling status of higher education. But he basically did nothing.
Furthermore, Moeen must be reminded that the term "Iranians abroad" does not only inculde the rich or academic Iranians. As I mentioned elsewhere, refugees, asylum seekers, Iranian prisoners abroad, political exiles are also the responsibility of Iranian government. This responsibility has often been left unfulfilled and seemingly there is little to indicate that the future governments will be willing to change this trend.

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