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March 4, 2002

Oxford wannabe

Dear Madam / Sir,

I would like to draw your attention to the following news item:

Information made available by the University of Oxford denying that it has ever conferred any diplomas to Mr. Ahmad Jalali, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) compelled the secretariat of that Organization to accept responsibility for the misrepresentation and alter the content of their official documents.

In a letter issued on Feb 20, 2002 ( please find below) , Michel Barton the Director of the Bureau of Public Information at UNESCO called the reference to Mr. Jalali's holding diplomas from the University of Oxford an 'inaccuracy' and a 'misinterpretation' which will be corrected immediately and shall not be repeated again.

Mr. Jalali whose country was elected as the President of the 31st session of the General Conference of UNESCO on October 2001 had at that time presented a curriculum vitae which described him as 'having obtained advanced degrees from the University of Oxford'.

In the meanwhile the administration of the University of Oxford has stated clearly that no degrees has ever been awarded by that institution to Mr. Ahmad Jalali.

Asked to comment on this matter, the first Ambassador of Iran to the United Nations after the1979 revolution, Dr. Mansour Farhang said that this incident "should lead to the resignation or expulsion of Mr. Jalali from UNESCO".

He also added that "It is indeed amazing that while the leaders of the Islamic Republic reject Western culture as corrupt, their ambassador lies about his Western academic credentials in order to gain international credibility".

Yours sincerely,
Julian Demouy

Mr. Barton's ( Director of the Bureau of Public Information of UNESCO)
statement is as follows:

The formulation used on our website describing Mr Jalali as having "obtained advance degrees" from the University of Oxford was a misinterpretation for which I, as Director of the Bureau of Public Information, must take responsibility. This inaccuracy no longer figures on our website and shall not be repeated.

Michel Barton
Bureau de l'information du public/Bureau of Public Information
Tel:  33 (0)1 45 68 20 77
Fax: 33 (0)1 45 68 56 50

Thanks to B

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