U Mass’s outrageous anti-Iranian student program

Racism remains a tool with which the racist US elites attempt to manipulate the population and, along with anti-communism and disinformation, the major technique used to arouse support for the ruling elite’s imperialist foreign policy. During the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81, for example, blatant anti-Iranian racism was encouraged by the media and elite institutions. Iranian bus drivers were fired in Jersey City and an Iranian-born high school senior was prevented from delivering the valedictory address at a Jersey shore school because of teacher protests that her national origin made her unworthy. The editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, a major liberal intellectual journal, was fired simply for allowing into print an article that tried to explain Iranian hostility to the United States. President Jimmy Carter waited almost a month before voicing perfunctory criticism of violent acts against Iranians in the US. *

USA Today (Feb. 18)   The University of Massachusetts on Wednesday backed off its controversial policy banning Iranian nationals from numerous science and engineering programs. The school said in a statement it will instead develop “individualized study plans to meet the requirements of federal sanctions law and address the impact on students.” The school said the new policy was developed after consulting with the State Department.

Earlier. . . 

Portside  A new decision by the Graduate College University of Massachusetts at Amherst to restrict Iranian students from key graduate programs—including physics, microbiology, and chemistry—is being blasted by civil rights advocates and members of the campus community as a violation of academic freedom, educational equality, and the principle of non-discrimination.

“Of all the people to hurt with sanctions, punishing students and undermining educational exchanges is a particularly damaging act,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian-American Council.

The U Mass Graduate School claimed on February 6th that it has imposed the ban to comply with a sanctions law — the “Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012.” The rule allows the Secretary of State to block visas and Department of Homeland Security to deny entry to Iranian nationals seeking to study at a higher educational institution for the purpose of preparing for “a career in the energy sector of Iran or in nuclear science or nuclear engineering or a related field in Iran.”

The new ban by the university will bar Iranian nationals from enrolling in a host of programs, including Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology, and Polymer Science and Engineering.

“In addition,” the announcement continues, “all enrolled Iranian national students will be required to acknowledge the restrictions imposed by the 2012 sanctions and certify their compliance in writing.”

* Source: Grove Furr, “A Lethal Form of Lying: Notes on Anti-Semitism and Cold War Scholarship,” /Comment/, Vol. 3, Nos. 3-4 (Spring 1984), 24-29.

At: http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/furrlethal84.pdf

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