Ahmadinejad orders verification of Iranian minister's doctorate

Iran Materials 27 August 2008 23:13 (UTC +04:00)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered that certification be proved of an honorary doctorate from Oxford University which his interior minister claims to have, Iran's official IRNA news agency said Wednesday.

Newly-appointed Interior Minister Ali Kordan had earlier this week claimed to have an honorary doctorate in law from the university, which the British institution categorically denied.

Since then the minister has been under fire. Presentation of faked documents - especially in governmental organizations - is a crime and offenders face imprisonment.

Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi told IRNA that Ahmadinejad ordered the ministry of higher education to verify the interior minister's certificate.

Fars news agency reported that Ahmadinejad also ordered the verification of other managers who claim to have academic certificates from abroad.

Kordan has reportedly sent a representative to Oxford and follow up the case and even employed a lawyer, apparently to sue Oxford University over the denial and confront the campaign against him.

Rahimi hoped that following verification by the education ministry "this unpleasant issue" would come to an end.

Ahmadinejad's press advisor, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, said last week that if the certificate was really faked, any misuse would be a crime and should be dealt with by a relevant court. He added however that Kordan should be given time to reply to the charges.

The presidential press advisor further said that if necessary, "also the president would apologise to the people" for having introduced Kordan to the parliament as new interior minister, dpa reported.