Intellectual Degradation of Isfahan

A few days late, I read about a conference in Iran, via Arutz Sheva:

At the initiative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a state-run Iranian university held a Holocaust-denial conference this week.

The conference, reported by Iran’s official IRIB radio, was held at Isfahan University. It was entitled Holocaust: myth or reality, and was attended by students and faculty. According to the report, it was organized by Khamenei’s Isfahan office.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for such a conference in January (bizarrely inviting Tony Blair), and I noted then that an academic at Teheran’s Neda Institute had been in contact with French Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson over the possibility. Only one person was named in relation to the conference – a certain “Alireza Soltanshahi”, described as “Head of the Presidential office on studying the Palestinian issue”.

Recent details about Isfahan University in English are far and few between, and the English sections of the university website make no mention of the conference (are they ashamed or something?). However, Iranian dissident website Roozonline reported the following last October:

The atmosphere of intimidation against dissidents and critics of the government is getting darker. The promise of silencing 3 to 4 percent of the critics and the threat of executing 210 journalists are the latest examples of the intimidations that were published just yesterday.

The threat of silencing critics was made by Dr Ramshet, the new president of Isfahan University. This news was published by two websites, Entekhab and Emrouz, and neither carried his first name or his background.

…Reports indicate that some 40 individuals have been given new posts at Isfahan University, confirming Ramshet’s claim that only “insiders” will be given posts in his school. Ramshet was speaking to a group of ideologues who share his interpretations of Islam and history.

And why the need to silence only 3-4 per cent of the critics?

“According to an American theory by a White House aide, if 25 percent of the population supports you, another 50 percent will automatically sympathize with you. Another 10 to 12 percent can be bought off, another 10 to 12 percent can be intimidated and the remaining 3 or 4 percent which cannot be brought into the circle can be suppressed with rapid response forces,” according to this university chancellor.

Nice talk from a man running a university based in the city that was once the intellectual and cultural centre of the Islamic world.