Oxford defends dead Iranian protester scholarship

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 20:53

London: Iran has denounced Oxford University after one of its colleges set up a scholarship in honour of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot dead during a protest after disputed elections, a report said Wednesday.

The regime accused the university in a letter of joining a "politically motivated" campaign that would "undermine your scientific credibility," The Times newspaper said.

In the letter to Oxford sent from the Iranian Embassy in London, the regime said the death in June of Agha-Soltan was staged by its enemies.

It said the scholarship would "make Oxford at odd (sic) with the rest of the world`s academic institutions," according to the paper.

The graduate scholarship worth about GBP 4,000 (EUR 4,400, USD 6,600) over two years is offered to philosophy students.

In response the university said the scholarship was entirely a matter for Queen`s College. Provost of Queen`s, Paul Madden, said the scholarship would help impoverished Iranians to study at Oxford.

Agha-Soltan emerged as an emblem of the political uprising in Iran after her death during the protest in Tehran against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Amateur videos of her bleeding to death posted on the Internet and broadcast across the world triggered an outcry over Iranian authorities` clampdown on the anti-Ahmadinejad protests.

Iranian police have claimed her death was staged.

Ahmadinejad has called for a probe into her death, saying there had been fabricated reports about the incident and "widespread propaganda" by the foreign media.

Diplomatic ties between Britain and Iran, already tense, have deteriorated since the election.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 20:53

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