Durham University defends accepting funds from Iran

As universities across the UK face tough questions about overseas donations, Durham University has caused a stir for accepting funding from both Iran and the US.

In the cramped basement office of the Durham student newspaper, the Palatinate, there is a wall of fame of big front page stories. Pride of place is one from February this year about a £200,000 ($320,000) grant Durham University received from the US state department for a series of Iranian seminars.

A cable from the US embassy in London, published by Wikileaks, said it was impressed by the “political cover” among contacts within Iran that Durham was apparently able to generate and described a member of the Iranian studies department at Durham as “a key Embassy London contact”.

“It was a massive story for us”, Palatinate’s editor Jack Battersby says. “Our website usually attracts a few hundred hits a day. This one crashed. It received 250,000 hits.”

If one starts to designate which cultural areas are suitable and which are not suitable – it is very dangerous.”End Quote Professor Robin Coningham >>>

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