Jul 28, 2014, 8:57 AM
News Code: 2732600
0 Persons
Norway academics concerned over expulsion of Iranian students

Tehran, July 28, IRNA - Academics from Norway’s top technical university have expressed concern after almost a dozen postgraduate science students from Iran had their residence permits canceled on the pretext of sanctions.

“When I first heard about this, I just couldn’t believe it,” said 27-year-old Hamideh Kaffash who was about to start a PhD in material engineering at the prestigious Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), wrote 'Iran Daily' in its Upside/Downside column on Monday.

She’s one of 10 Iranian postgraduates who have received letters from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration in recent months informing them that they must leave the country.

The letters say that Norway’s Police and Security Service has ruled that their studies could result in the transfer of sensitive technology which could help Iran develop its nuclear industry.

The security services say this would put Norway in breach of international sanctions in place against Iran over its nuclear program.

But the students say their specialties have nothing to do with the nuclear industry.

The seven other postgrads who’ve been affected, and who are studying at other universities, have also challenged the decision.

University students, lecturers have rallied in support of the affected students.

They have set up a Facebook page, organized an online petition and held protests on university campuses across the country, attended by both students and lecturers.

“We think the Department of Immigration decision is baseless and wrong,” says Jostein Mardalen, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at NTNU.

There are around 200 Iranians studying at NTNU and hundreds more at other institutions across the country.