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Iranian University Chancellors Ask Bollinger 10 Questions

Posted by Fredsvenn den september 28, 2007

TEHRAN – Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and
research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the
US Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger’s insulting words
against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide
responses for 10 questions of the Iranian academicians and

The following is the full text of the letter.

* * * *

Mr. Lee Bollinger
Columbia University President

We, the professors and heads of universities and research
institutions in Tehran , hereby announce our displeasure and protest
at your impolite remarks prior to Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s recent speech at Columbia University.

We would like to inform you that President Ahmadinejad was elected
directly by the Iranian people through an enthusiastic two-round poll
in which almost all of the country’s political parties and groups
participated. To assess the quality and nature of these elections you
may refer to US news reports on the poll dated June 2005.

Your insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country
with a population of 72 million and a recorded history of 7,000 years
of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.

Your comments, filled with hate and disgust, may well have been
influenced by extreme pressure from the media, but it is regrettable
that media policy-makers can determine the stance a university
president adopts in his speech.

Your remarks about our country included unsubstantiated accusations
that were the product of guesswork as well as media propaganda. Some
of your claims result from misunderstandings that can be clarified
through dialogue and further research.

During his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a number of your
questions and those of students. We are prepared to answer any
remaining questions in a scientific, open and direct debate.

You asked the president approximately ten questions. Allow us to ask
you ten of our own questions in the hope that your response will help
clear the atmosphere of misunderstanding and distrust between our two
countries and reveal the truth.

1. Why did the US media put you under so much pressure to prevent
Mr. Ahmadinejad from delivering his speech at Columbia University?
And why have American TV networks been broadcasting hours of news
reports insulting our president while refusing to allow him the
opportunity to respond? Is this not against the principle of freedom
of speech?

2. Why, in 1953, did the US administration overthrow the Iran’s
national government under Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh and go on to support
the Shah’s dictatorship?
3. Why did the US support the blood-thirsty dictator Saddam
Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, considering his
reckless use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers defending
their land and even against his own people?
4. Why is the US putting pressure on the government elected by the
majority of Palestinians in Gaza instead of officially recognizing
it? And why does it oppose Iran ‘s proposal to resolve the
60-year-old Palestinian issue through a general referendum?
5. Why has the US military failed to find Al-Qaeda leader Osama
Bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment? How do you justify
the old friendship between the Bush and Bin Laden families and their
cooperation on oil deals? How can you justify the Bush
administration’s efforts to disrupt investigations concerning the
September 11 attacks?
6. Why does the US administration support the Mujahedin Khalq
Organization (MKO) despite the fact that the group has officially and
openly accepted the responsibility for numerous deadly bombings and
massacres in Iran and Iraq? Why does the US refuse to allow Iran ‘s
current government to act against the MKO’s main base in Iraq?
7. Was the US invasion of Iraq based on international consensus
and did international institutions support it? What was the real
purpose behind the invasion which has claimed hundreds of thousands
of Iraqi lives? Where are the weapons of mass destruction that the US
claimed were being stockpiled in Iraq?
8. Why do America’s closest allies in the Middle East come from
extremely undemocratic governments with absolutist monarchical
9. Why did the US oppose the plan for a Middle East free of
unconventional weapons in the recent session of the International
Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors despite the fact the move won
the support of all members other than Israel?
10. Why is the US displeased with Iran’s agreement with the IAEA
and why does it openly oppose any progress in talks between Iran and
the agency to resolve the nuclear issue under international law?

Finally, we would like to express our readiness to invite you and
other scientific delegations to our country. A trip to Iran would
allow you and your colleagues to speak directly with Iranians from
all walks of life including intellectuals and university scholars.
You could then assess the realities of Iranian society without media
censorship before making judgments about the Iranian nation and

You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable
toward their guests.

Jørgen Johansen


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