IRAN WATCH CANADA

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


One Degree, Twenty Errors
Bloggers Expose Ahmadinejad ‎ - 2008.08.12
‎Roozonline- Mahboubeh Niknahad
While Ahmadinejad’s deputy in legal affairs has threatened to file charges against those ‎who have exposed the forged nature of the new interior minister’s doctoral degree, ‎several blogs and news websites pointed to numerous errors in Ali Kordan’s forged ‎degree; such that, in a very short time, several obvious errors were unveiled on the World ‎Wide Web regarding the forged degree. ‎
Bloggers have exposed Ahmadinejad’’ interior minister’s false claims that he received an ‎honorary doctoral degree from Oxford University, England’s oldest institution of higher ‎education, while the website “Alef,” affiliated with the prominent Principalist lawmaker ‎Ahmad Tavakkoli, again reiterated its claim regarding the forged nature of Ali Kordan’s ‎degree by publishing correspondence with the “Oxford University Press and Information ‎Office.” ‎
According to the text of a letter published on the website and signed by the ‎aforementioned office, Oxford University declared that there were no records of Mr. Ali ‎Kordan receiving an honorary doctorate or any other degree from the university. ‎Moreover, the university noted that none of the signatures appearing on the document ‎belonged to any individuals working in the field of law, and none of them were ‎authorized to sign degree certificates on behalf of Oxford University. ‎
Previously, in response to a question raised on the Internet, the registrar of Oxford ‎University had responded by noting, “[t]hank you for your questions regarding Mr. Ali ‎Kordan. Oxford University issues honorary doctorates, but not to works submitted from ‎other countries. Mr. Kordan has not received an honorary doctorate from Oxford ‎University. We have no record of issuing an honorary doctorate to a person by the name ‎of Ali Kordan." ‎
Errors in Kordan’s Forged Degree‎Following the ninth administration interior minister’s claim regarding his degree and the ‎publication of the diploma’s text and image by media outlets, dozens of comments were ‎published on news websites attesting to the degree's forged nature. Some of the errors ‎discovered by bloggers regarding the claims by Ahmadinejad’s interior minister are as ‎follows:‎
‎- A day before providing reporters with the image of Ali Kordan’s supposed diploma, the ‎interior ministry’s public relations office identified an individual named Stephen Pringle, ‎claimed to be the head of the Middle Eastern Studies department at the University of ‎Oxford, to the issuer of the honorary doctorate for Ali Kordan. However, in the ‎presented diploma, there is no mention of the Middle Eastern Studies Department or a ‎person named Pringel; perhaps because, as Ahmad Tavakkoli insisted a day before, no ‎person by that name exists at the Oxford University. ‎
‎- According to Oxford University’s bylaws, which are accessible on the university’s ‎website, from 1948 to present, the University has been issuing doctoral degrees under the ‎title Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), and under the title Doctorate of Law prior to that. The ‎title listed in Ali Kordan’s diploma, Doctor of Laws, is not used by the University. ‎
‎- None of the titles listed below the names of the signatures on Kordan’s diploma, ie the ‎president of the university’s council, the president of the examination center and director ‎of post graduate studies exist at Oxford. Essentially there is no such position as ‎Examination Center at Oxford (similar to what exists at Iran’s Azad University!). ‎Assuming that the diploma is authentic, it must be signed by the Director of Graduate ‎Studies, not the Director of Post Graduate Studies, as listed on the diploma. ‎
‎- The university does not have a college named the College of Law. The name of the ‎university's law school is the Faculty of Law, not the College of Law as listed on Ali ‎Kordan’s diploma. ‎
‎- The names of persons who received honorary doctorates from the Oxford University ‎are listed on the university's website address, listed below. Most certainly, the name of ‎Ali Kordan is not among them:‎
http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/1999-00/supps/1_4554.htm ‎As listed on the above website, the only person who received a doctoral degree in “civil ‎law” in June of 2000 was Ms. Helen Bamber, which is not similar to Ali Kordan at all. ‎
‎- It is interesting to note that none of the three signatories to Ali Kordan's diploma are ‎members of any sort, whether academic or not, of the university's experimental ‎psychology department. One of the three signatories has previously presented an article ‎at that department which is published by Rajanews as proof of Kordan diploma's ‎authenticity. ‎
‎- More interestingly, the topic of that article and the area of expertise of other signatories ‎to Kordan's degree are in areas such as neurobiology and psychology, which are unlikely ‎to be related to law. ‎
‎- Individuals mentioned on Kordan's diploma have been present only at the experimental ‎psychology department of Brookes University, which is overseen by Oxford University; ‎however, none are considered academic members or serve as professors at the University. ‎Furthermore, none has any connections to legal studies and it would be impossible for ‎them to issue such a degree. ‎
‎- Even in Iran, doctoral degree diplomas are not printed in a disorderly manner, with ‎misaligned lines on a portrait format; usually, they are printed in landscape format in ‎appealing fonts and aesthetic qualities. ‎
‎- The logo that appears at the top of this diploma is different from the University of ‎Oxford's official logo, which is visible on the university's website. Moreover, the ‎diploma refers to the Department of Graduate Studies, whereas University of Oxford has ‎Graduate Office. ‎
‎- Comparing the logo used at the top of the diploma indicates that the logo is different ‎from the one that appears on the Oxford University website. More particularly, it seems ‎as if the surrounding belt is deleted, or cut!‎
‎- The text has the tone of a direct transliteration from Farsi to English, rather than the ‎tone of a university that itself is an authority on English language and grammar. ‎
‎- The diploma's text is written in upper case letters, whereas in official English language ‎texts, upper case letters are reserved for headings or to start a sentence. ‎
‎- Almost all of the text's commas appear in wrong places. ‎
‎- English speakers do not sign above their names and titles, but rather below their names ‎and titles, unlike Mr. Kordan's alleged diploma!‎
‎- Two of the three signatures that appear at the bottom of the diploma are very similar ‎and seem to have been the work of one person. ‎
‎- The word "honorary," which appears in the text, has the American-English spelling, ‎rather than the British English spelling as "honourary." ‎
‎- The spelling of the word "intitle" is incorrect. Apparently, the author meant to say ‎‎"entitle!" Also, this word is indented to the right; but it must have been indented to the ‎left. ‎
‎- The spelling of the word "Benefitted" is incorrect. The word "Benefited" must have ‎been used instead. Moreover, the word as used in the text is grammatically incorrect. ‎
In addition, several other small and major mistakes appear in the text, showing the extent ‎to which Ahmadinejad's interior minister's diploma is forged. ‎
Coverage of the Issue on the InternetThe publication of the image of the interior minister's alleged diploma created a wave of ‎comments on the World Wide Web. Perhaps discussing several of the comments could ‎communicate the atmosphere of this discussion. ‎
Former Majlis deputy Jamileh Kadivar wrote on her personal website, "[a]s we know, ‎honorary doctoral degrees are usually given to individuals that have spearheaded giant ‎leaps in scientific development, or such diplomas are presented to presidents. Mr. ‎Kordan is neither an academic figure nor a first-rate manager; for what was he given this ‎honorary doctorate? How is it possible for someone who is incapable of reading and ‎understanding one page of a legal text in English to receive an honorary doctorate in law ‎from University of Oxford… The interior minister is the public's custodian in elections. ‎If he begins his work with lies and a false diploma, what will we do on election day?" ‎
One University of Oxford graduate wrote, "The issue is much simpler than this. I myself ‎am a graduate of University of Oxford. The simplest point is that the University of ‎Oxford (and in England, Cambridge) has a different educational system, meaning that ‎colleges, not the university as a whole, are the main foundation of the university. ‎Essentially, the meaning of Faculty in Oxford is different than many other universities, ‎and that matriculation and graduation are both undertaken by the college under the ‎university's name. Essentially, the university cannot do anything without any of its ‎colleges, meaning it cannot issue a diploma and write at the top, 'Oxford Colleges ‎Office!'" ‎
Another blogger published the text of Article 527 of the Islamic Penal Code, which notes, ‎‎"Anyone who forges or utilizes - despite knowledge of documents being forged - ‎educational records, graduation records or academic records from universities or other ‎higher education or research institutes inside or outside the country or foreign educational ‎certificates, in addition to payment of damages, shall be sentenced to one to three years ‎imprisonment. In the case that the violator is an employee of a ministry of organization ‎or institution affiliated with the government or municipality or Islamic Revolution ‎institutions, or participates in any way in use or forging of such documents, the violator ‎receives the maximum sentence." ‎

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