Paris, 13 Aug. (IPS) Is Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about stab Mr. Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Majles, regarded as the main rival at fanatic President in the next presidential elections at the hands of one of the Speaker’s closest ally in Mr. Ali Kordan, the new Interior Minister?
This is what many Iran watchers read through the comedy-tragic saga of the surprising designation of Mr. Kordan by the President as Interior Minister and then his tumultuous vote of confidence in the Majles.
Mr. Kordan says he wrote his thesis, sent it to Oxford University and got his doctorate
A brief flash back
In a letter sent on 29 July to the Speaker of the Majles, Mr. Ahmadinejad informed him of his decision to name Mr. Ali Kordan, Mr. Shamseddin Hoseyni and Mr. Hamid Behbahani as ministers for respectively Interior, Economy and Finances and Roads and Transportation.
The first two ministries had been vacant since last April and the third one since a month ago, after the ministers in charge, Hojjatoleslam Mostafa Pour Mohammad, Davoud Danesh Ja’fari and Mohammad Ne’mati had either resigned or were removed.
What angered Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters and surprised political analysts was that the men he had proposed for the Interior and Economy were close allies of the Speaker, who, according to most Iranian observers, is preparing himself to enter the next presidential race, with the hope of winning the elections, banking on the growing unpopularity of Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Actually, if Mr. Hoseyni is considered “close” to the Speaker, Mr. Kordan, an acting Oil Minister before taking charge of the Interior Ministry on 5 August, was a senior deputy to Mr. Larijani when he was Head of the Voice and Visage (Radio and Television) of the Islamic Republic from 1994 to 2004.
However, Mr. Kordan could have taken over his new responsibility with serenity if an influential member of the Majles would not have noticed something unusual in the new Interior Minister’s CV presented to the lawmakers: That he had an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Oxford University, signed by the head of the Middle East Department of that university and three professors.
Under growing pressures, Mr. Larijani, the Majles Speaker ordered the House's Investigation Committee to look into Mr. Kordan's doctorate affair.
Hojjatoleslam Rouhollah Hoseynian, a controversial personality who openly took the defence of Sa’id Emami, the man whom the authorities accused of being the mastermind of the “serial assassinations” of popular dissident intellectuals and politicians in 1989, said “when I asked Mr. Kordan how you got this doctorate?”, he responded that the document was bestowed to him by the Director of the Middle East Department of the Oxford University and signed by three well-known and highly respected professors of the University.
‘When I asked for more explanation, Mr. Kordan said he had written a thesis, sent it to Oxford University and got his doctorate”, Mr. Hosenian, a middle rank cleric close to the President said.
Hosseynian: What was the subject of your thesis?
Kordan: It was about Education in Islam and how to better expand it.
Hoseynian: But this has nothing to do with Law, which is the basis of your thesis. Besides, you don’t speak English, how then you wrote your thesis in that language?
No answer from Kordan.
Hoseynian: Have you defended your thesis?
Oxford University sayd it has not heard about anyone named Ali Kordan, let alone giving im a doctorate
Kordan: Not yet, I’m preparing myself for this.
Hoseynian: But in the Majles, this morning, you said publicly that you have defended yourself your thesis. Can you explain? And how did you defended since you don’t know English?
Kordan: After a long silence….. I used a translator …
In response to queries by some Iranian newspapers and lawmakers, Oxford University confirmed that the establishment had no record of an honorary doctorate gave to someone named Ali Kordan, that the professors named by Mr. Kordan were not in a position to sign any such document.
The Interior Ministry, in a communiqué aimed at stopping the case, said “the honorary doctorate” of the new minister “had been given to him by the Director of the Middle East Department of the Oxford University in accordance to the rules of that University and three other professors of the Establishment, all well- known and respected professors. There is no doubt about the veracity of the doctorate”. Furthermore, the communiqué menaced “anyone expressing any “dubious claims” on the subject would face judiciary consequences.
However, as the saga developed into a national controversy, Mr. Larijani demanded the Investigations and Research Committee of the Majles to look into the case.
When asked by Mr. Hosseynian on this peculiar matter, Mr. Kordan said since he had made several trips and carried several duties without being paid for, “this compensates that”.
The question now is what Mr. Kordan would do if the investigations prove that he had lied, especially because of his “doctorate”, he was entitled to some financial advantages he received when serving as deputy to the General Director of the VVIR, meaning Mr. Larijani, when he was in charge of the Organisation.
According to informed sources, one way out is that Mr. Kordan resigns himself. The other is that the resident removes him, and the third is facing an impeachment by lawmakers.
And this unless the Leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, who has extra constitutional powers, intervenes personally, one way or the other. ENDS KORDAN 13808