Vienna NGO blasts academic visits to Iranian university

Sharif University of Technology cooperation agreements with Iranian Government organizations which operate in military or military-related fields.

November 20, 2014 15:14
2 minute read.
Satellite images of Iranian nuclear facility (file)

Satellite images of Iranian nuclear facility (file). (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Visits by Austrian academics to an EU-sanctioned Iranian university with connections to illicit nuclear-proliferation activities have drawn sharp criticism from a Vienna-based NGO.

Speaking from the Austrian capital, Stefan Schaden, a spokesperson for the NGO Stop the Bomb in Austria, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday the Iranian regime’s academic system discriminates against women and minorities.

“According to Amnesty International, women were banned from a number of university degree courses or are facing discriminating quotas. Minorities and political dissidents are denied access to higher education,” he said.
“That is unlikely to be compatible with the goals of Austrian academic cooperation.”

Peter Moser, vice rector of the Montanuniversitat Leoben, along with Hubert Dürrstein, CEO of Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research, visited Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology on November 10.

According to EU sanctions, “Sharif University of Technology has a number of cooperation agreements with Iranian Government organizations which are designated by the UN and/or the EU and which operate in military or military-related fields, particularly in the field of ballistic missile production and procurement. This includes: an agreement with the EU-designated Aerospace Industries Organization for inter alia the production of satel­lites; cooperating with the Iranian Ministry of Defense and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on smart boat competitions; [and] a broader agreement with the IRGC Air Force which covers developing and strengthening the University’s relations, organizational and strategic cooperation.”

EU sanctions apply to Iranian gas and oil imports by the 28-member body.

“Prior to the visit, Montanuniversitat Leoben checked the legal situation and concluded that a meeting with researchers does not break the embargo,” Erhard Skupa, a spokesman for Montanuniversitat Leoben, told The Post in an emailed statement. “In addition, we want to emphasize that no cooperation agreement has been signed with Sharif University.”

He added that Montanuniversitat Leoben has been keeping contact with Iranian universities and researchers for decades before and after the Islamic revolution, noting that the revolution made the contacts more difficult but never stopped them. As a result, he said, Iranian students are among the biggest foreign group of students at the university.

“Typically Iranian students finish their studies at Montanuniversitat Leoben, return back to Iran afterwards and carry Montanuniversitat Leoben’s spirit of openness and internationality back to Iran.”

 Schaden, however, told The Post that Iranian media and officials are exploiting the Austrian academic visit “for their propaganda,” and pointed to Iran-regime controlled news outlet IRNA.

“ Iranian and Austrian sides explained their potentials and examined ways to cooperate,” an IRNA report said. “Besides the introduction of Sharif University of Technology, strategies to begin cooperation with Austrian universities were also discussed.”

IRNA added that “The Austrian delegation also visited the Sharif Upstream Petroleum Laboratory in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Superconductive Electronics Research Laboratory in Electronic Engineering Department,” and indicated that several professors from Montanuniversitat Leoben were present at the meetings.

Dürrstein did not immediately respond to requests for comment by The Post.

Related Content

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
June 18, 2019
U.S. says to send more troops to the Middle East, cites Iran threats


Cookie Settings