August 26, 2008

Iran Minister Says Retirement of University Lecturers “Not Political”

Text of unattributed report headlined "Deputy science minister in an interview with Iran: Retirement of university lecturers is not political" published by Iranian newspaper Iran website on 24 August

The actions of the Ministry of Science regarding the retirement of university lecturers is in no way political, and the retirees do not belong to a specific political current. In an interview with a reporter from Iran newspaper, the deputy science minister referred to the retirement of some lecturers at Tehran University and said: Unfortunately, some political currents in the country want to make it appear that authorities at the Ministry of Science have decided to remove some lecturers from the university environment. This comes at a time when the minister of science has personally gone to a lot of trouble to persuade cabinet members to raise the retirement age for lecturers from 65 to 70.

Dr Seyyed Mohammad Hoseyni emphasised: All of the retirees have been retired in line with administrative regulations. No one can claim that this has been some sort of political act. The university community in the country always makes use of scholars and the cabinet too has given the minister of science the authority to employ lecturers to teach up to ten units at universities following their retirement. Many lecturers themselves wish to retire. Upon doing so they join faculties at the Azad University and non- governmental universities, this shows that the country's scientific community always uses these scholars. Hoseyni said: If the lecturers do not want to retire, they should put forward a proposal to the Majlis for the retirement law to be abolished so that the Islamic Consultative Assembly [the Majlis] can study the proposal. The Ministry of Science merely executes the law. The retirement decree is only a piece of paper. We never retire science. The retirement decree is only a piece of paper, which has been handed over.

The head of Tehran University on the subject of the retirement of lecturers at this university told Mehr: All the faculty members at Tehran University are renowned university lecturers and we will most certainly welcome the cooperation of retired members at the university. Farhad Rahbar said: Tehran University has distinguished lecturers who are retiring for administrative reasons, but the university will never cut its relations with these lecturers and we will continue to use them in the fields of teaching, research and for dissertations. He said: The retirement decree for the faculty members is only a piece of paper and an administrative procedure. We believe that science and scientists never retire and those faculty members who have retired can help the university more than they have done in the past in the areas of teaching and research. Consequently, I do not feel there has been a change, and what has taken place regarding the retirement of faculty members is an administrative and legal matter.

Rahbar added: The necessary permission for retired faculty members to continue to play a role in PhD and MSc. programmes and in dissertations has been obtained and in this area, general permission has also been obtained from the president. Rahbar said: I have spoken to the president and, over the next two weeks, Dr Ahmadinezhad will highlight this point in his speeches that faculty members will not be retired from a scientific point of view, that this retirement letter should be put aside and the experience of retired lecturers should be used in the field of teaching and research and in the country's affairs.

Originally published by Iran website, Tehran, in Persian 24 Aug 08.

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