Iran’s minister of science has responded to critics and defended his choices for university presidents, saying all his appointees have top academic credentials and have also been approved by the ministry of intelligence.
The Tasnim News Agency reports that Reza Farajidana told a meeting of student association representatives that: “The heads of the universities have a high degree of academic experience and no political controversy.”
He said he had consulted the ministry of intelligence about his choices and received their approval.
Farajidana has been accused of appointing individuals who supported the opposition in the election protests of 2009. He stated that following statements from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, these individuals did not persist in supporting the protests.
Reza Farajidana has made several changes in the leadership of Iran’s top universities, which the conservative factions of the establishment have come to regard as a move toward a more reformist outlook in the higher-education institutions.
Farajidana had been targeted for impeachment by conservative MPs for his choice of appointees and for allowing the return of students who had been expelled or suspended for political activity.
The plan to impeach the minister of science was shelved for the time being based on promises that all of the MPs’ concerns would be addressed in the near future.