whilst i don't condone the arrest and retaining of innocent people with no access to human rights...this stinks of another attempt at negative propaganda aimed at iran. whilst i cannot comment on the governments supposed policies regarding academics attending conferences, i know for a fact that many iranian academics are freely able to attend conferences in the west, as many of my family members have done so, and not only are they 'allowed' but they are also greatly acclaimed for it by the iranian government!
if 30 academcis have been locked up in 2 months for political activism, as it says on the BBC and elsewhere, publish that. don't make stuff up about researchers facing arrest if they go to conferences - that's just made-up.
"A senior Iranian intelligence official has warned Iranian academics to be careful about what they say when attending conferences overseas.
The anti-espionage chief in Tehran, said professors were under threat from foreigners out to obtain information. "
"Earlier this month, a former nuclear negotiator for Iran now working in a research centre was arrested on suspicion of spying."
And I've definitely read another story on the BBC or Al Jazeera - which I can't find - about other Iranian academics coming back from conferences in the West and facing arrest or harrassment on the basis of being spies.
"with academics now facing arrest if they attend conferences in the west"
of course you cant find it - because there is no credible news source on the net that would say that. maybe academics do get harassed or detained (neither being a good thing) - but they do not face arrest for attending conferences. that's the same sort of bilge that took us to war on Iraq.
The source for the disputed comments in the article was The Independent, along with those mentioned above.
"The authorities have responded with a campaign of intimidation, arresting some Iranians who travel to the West, have contact with Western policy organisations or hold dual citizenship. Four Iranian-Americans have recently been charged with "spying" and instigating "a soft revolution" . A former senior nuclear official, Hossain Mousavian, was also briefly detained in early May, suggesting even the political elite is vulnerable.
Iranians are now frequently scared of attending conferences abroad, speaking to foreign journalists on record or working in civil society projects. As a result, Iranian voices in the West are increasingly limited to officials such as the firebrand President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and ?migr? groups bitterly opposed to the Tehran government."
still doesnt add up to "academics now facing arrest if they attend conferences in the west" - which is an innaccurate sweeping statement. Also, if you're going to selectively quote the independent article, then here's the full excerpt:
"A report last month by ABC News in the US revealed presidential backing for a CIA "black operation" to destabilise Iran. An April investigation by the same network linked the Bush administration to Baluchi militants responsible for several bomb attacks near the Pakistan border. Such reports come amid a huge US military build up in the Persian Gulf, attempts to strangle investment in Iran and the seizure of Iranian personnel in Iraq.
The authorities have responded with a campaign of intimidation, arresting some Iranians who travel to the West, have contact with Western policy organisations or hold dual citizenship. Four Iranian-Americans have recently been charged with "spying" and instigating "a soft revolution" . A former senior nuclear official, Hossain Mousavian, was also briefly detained in early May, suggesting even the political elite is vulnerable."
So answer me this then - there are only 100 people listed for that conference, of which around 70 are based in Iran. There's a conference in Spain on what appears to be a similar subject the following month which has nearly 30 invited speakers, let alone other participants - i.e. it has more invited speakers than the conference in Iran has participants from Western institutions.
Also, half the western attendees are there because they were invited to give a talk, most of the other half have distinctly Arabic sounding names and I would wager they were from Iran or neighbouring countries and are studying overseas.
If academics in Iran are unaffected, why do they need their own conference? Why don't they go to the one in Spain? Why aren't more from the West going to the one in Iran? Why doesn't the one in Spain this year just go to Iran next year to give them their Quantum Information fix without having to travel?
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