So as a follow-up on my previous post asking whether it was true that Iranian women had been banned from some university degrees, I read today that it was not quite true. According to Alex Shams (with whose writings I am not familiar) there was a decision by some independently-managed universities to do this in order to address the fact that Iranian university students are mostly female right now, and this decision has not received the approval of the government:
However, these decisions by specific universities are a far cry from “Iran” banning all women from attending all universIities, as the title of the article implies. In fact, the decision of these universities has not been “officially-approved” by any stretch of the imagination, and a Director General in charge of education at the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology has sent letters to the universities (which have private decision-making) demanding explanations for the decisions taken. Although various officials have offered some half-hearted explanation for the decision- mostly focusing around the inability to women to get jobs in the particular fields of study banned- it also appears that the effort is part of an attempt to even the gender imbalance that has meant that Iranian women get accepted into universities at a rate of 60-40 as compared to their male counterparts.
Shams goes on to point out how The Telegraph article tried hard to put the worst possible spin on this event, by portraying Iran as some sort of Taliban-controlled country where unnamed "senior clerics" are unhappy about women becoming educated, nevermind that Iranian women experienced a massive improvement in literacy rates and access to higher education under these very same "senior clerics".
The Telegraph is, after all, a mockery of a journalism when it comes to Iran coverage. In addition to the Iranian female ninja assassins bullshit story in the Telegraph that Shams mentions, remember the story that Iran had funded the election victory of the Turkish Prime Minister, which they had to retract after Turkey won a lawsuit against them? Or the story which claimed that Ahmadinejad was secretly Jewish? And just recently, the Telegraph mischaracertized what the head of British foreign intelligence had said about Iran too, to make it sound as if he had claimed that the UK had stopped an actual effort by Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. I mean, seriously! Who can believe this rag anymore?
But the fact is that publications like the Telegraph exist and are waiting to exploit such opportunities to condemn Iran. So, it is all the more reason that the authorities in Iran should have made sure that any such situation was explained better: what had been actually decided by whom and why -- and the explanations should have come out right way too, insteadof giving the Telegraph free reign to spin it all it wanted. Hopefully we'll all hear more about the true facts, and if there is any such ban, it will be lifted