Pages Menu
Categories Menu

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]



[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.




[8] Ibid.


[10] Ibid.




[14] Ibid.



[17] Ibid.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: