Iran: Universities continue to face all-embracing leadership changes

The trend of new changes among university deans and heads of other educational institutions, which was largely launched in the summer, is continuing at a faster pace by the Iranian regime, according to reports.

On Monday, the deputy of the regime’s Minister of Science, Gholamreza Khajeh Sarvi, denied reports that the removals and appointments are “rushed.” He described it as a “natural” transformation that is being carried out “on a completely technical basis.”

Khajeh Sarvi said “a number of university deans have handed their resignation letters due to old age.” But, the real reason behind the increasing number of resignations is that the deans have become increasingly aware of the changes that the regime’s Ministry of Science seeks to institute in the country’s campuses.

The extensive removals began with the appointment of Kamran Daneshjou as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Minister of Science.

Unwilling to reveal the real reasons behind the dismissals, the Iranian regime has offered contradictory accounts. For example, Daneshjou said his brother decided to resign as the dean of the University of Sharif “to take care of our elderly parents.”

But the state-run news agency ISNA reported in August 2009 that Farhad Daneshjou had handed his resignation letter “in order to facilitate the government’s attempts to freely elect university deans.” On Sunday, he told ISNA that there will be 10-20 other replacements among the country’s university deans.

Similarly, the dean of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Sharif University, Sohrabpour, was offered a post as a science and technology advisor to Ahmadinejad even though the government had said that he had resigned from his previous position due to “ailments.”

There are currently about 80 universities and educational facilities controlled by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Science.

On August 11, the state-run Mehr news agency reported that the dean of Khajeh Nasir University in Tehran said that the decision to dismiss him was taken “by senior ranking officials” and such decisions will take place concerning many universities in the near future. According to Mehr, Mohammad Taqi Bothai said he was informed of this plan by a deputy Minister of Science who was aware of the Minister of Science’s intentions.
The regime’s Ministry of Science vehemently denied Bothai’s claims, saying that “There were no broad decisions taken to change university deans.”

In December 2009, the regime’s Minister of Science, Kamran Daneshjou, had said, “If I conclude at any time that in any place there is need for changes, then I will act on it, but I have not reached that conclusion yet.” Now, current trends indicate that the regime is acting on these plans.

The mullahs’ Supreme Leader said last year that there is an imperative for “fundamental changes” in the educational system. Some observers say the decision to change the leadership of Iran’s most important universities are an aftermath of those comments.

Nonetheless, the regime’s internal feuds are not immune from changes in the academic circles. According to the state-un Khabar Online, a member of the regime’s Parliament said the changes concerning Iran’s universities must follow certain rules, because otherwise “we would experience scientific corrosion.”





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