Friday, September 28, 2007

Iranian academics pose 10 Questions to President of Columbia University

The tables are turned following on the Iranian President's visit to Columbia University and the rather pointed and some would say offensive and insulting "welcome" speech of the University's President Bollinger.

As Fars News Agency reports [reproduced on CommonDreams]:

"Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the US Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger’s insulting words against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide responses for 10 questions of the Iranian academicians and intellectuals."

The letter opens with this:

"We, the professors and heads of universities and research institutions in Tehran , hereby announce our displeasure and protest at your impolite remarks prior to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent speech at Columbia University.

We would like to inform you that President Ahmadinejad was elected directly by the Iranian people through an enthusiastic two-round poll in which almost all of the country’s political parties and groups participated. To assess the quality and nature of these elections you may refer to US news reports on the poll dated June 2005.

Your insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with a population of 72 million and a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.

Your comments, filled with hate and disgust, may well have been influenced by extreme pressure from the media, but it is regrettable that media policy-makers can determine the stance a university president adopts in his speech."

The 10 questions [not so easily answered - if at all!] are here.

Interestingly, too, the Jewish community in Iran has issued its own statement.

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