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Posted on Nov 1, 2013

Durham University

Durham University

 

According to a report recently published by the Henry Jackson Society and Student Rights, Durham University received over £185,000 from the regimes of Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Cameroon, Vietnam and North Korea between 2008 and 2011.[1]

An earlier report, published by the Centre for Social Cohesion, revealed a donation of £2.25million made to Durham University by Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi of Sharjah (UAE) in 1999.[2] Al-Qasimi made another donation in 2008, although the exact amount is not known.[3] Responding to the report, the university issued a statement in which it denied that Sharjah’s alleged human rights abuses are “violations in the sense understood by the major human rights organisations”.[4]

In 2012, the university took an additional £2.5million from Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah of Kuwait.[5] Robert Halfon MP condemned the “astonishing” decision to receive money from a country which “we cannot consider to be democratic or tolerant” and “does not respect equality rights for women, property rights or the rule of law”.[6]

In 2008, Durham University signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.[7] Under this agreement, £10,000 was paid to the university by the regime.[8] The university had previously appointed former Iranian Ambassador to Jordan Nosratollah Tajik as an Honorary Fellow in 2004.[9] Tajik was arrested by British authorities in 2006 for his role in smuggling military equipment into Iran.[10]

As part of the formal relationship between Durham University and the Iranian regime, a seminar “monopolised by pro-regime speakers” was held at the university in 2010.[11] The event was jointly organised by the Iranian Embassy in Britain.[12] When Iranian students at the university protested the event, they were denounced by Dr Colin Turner, the Co-Director of Durham’s Centre for Iranian Studies, for having “absolutely no problem in accepting scholarships from the British government – which has turned the slaughter of innocent teenagers in Iraq and Afghanistan into an art form”.[13] He added that, “before they accuse us of receiving what they term ‘blood money’ from our Iranian funders, maybe they should look a little more closely at the source of their own funding”.[14]

The same Dr Turner freely admitted that “Iranian money comes with strings attached”,[15] which may explain why, for 14 months, the university refused to condemn the regime for imprisoning its former student, Eshan Abdoh-Tabrizi.[16] Although Eshan was arrested in January, the university would not even acknowledge his arrest until June.[17]



[1] http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.studentrights.org.uk%2Fuserfiles%2Ffiles%2FCampus-Report-PDF-FINAL.pdf&ei=dpZzUr33N8KL7AaBmYDgBg&usg=AFQjCNERxxNT9dOjpUY6aasOHZtzLkn-yw&bvm=bv.55819444,d.ZGU&cad=rja

[2] http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.christopherdavidson.net%2Ffiles%2FForeign_funding.pdf&ei=T5dzUqWVMI2h7AaKn4CIBw&usg=AFQjCNHvFkTFUqvcT1DUe5TcLIdAp_dUkw&bvm=bv.55819444,d.ZGU&cad=rja

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] http://www.studentrights.org.uk/article/1967/kuwaiti_funding_raises_questions_at_durham_university

[6] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9574061/Durham-Universitys-2.5m-Kuwaiti-gift-astonishing-says-Conservative-MP.html

[7] http://www.hurryupharry.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/picture.jpg

[8] Ibid.

[9] http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/former-iranian-ambassador-arrested-in-britain-for-assisting-iran-directed-s/

[10] Ibid.

[11] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/feb/10/iranian-funding-durham-university-boycott

[12] www.studentrights.org.uk/cms/rc1/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Durham-Briefing.pdf

[13] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/feb/10/iranian-funding-durham-university-boycott

[14] Ibid.

[15] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/feb/10/iranian-funding-durham-university-boycott

[16] www.studentrights.org.uk/cms/rc1/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Durham-Briefing.pdf

[17] Ibid.

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