In 1914, just before the Great War, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg — reacting to Britain’s treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality — was amazed that Britain would go to war over “a scrap of paper”.
As I have mentioned previously, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran seems to channel Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg when he dismisses formal treaty documents and official communications as mere “scraps of paper”. Last April it was those pesky UN resolutions; today it’s university documents that confer academic credentials.
According to Al-Arabiya, the new Interior Minister of Iran fudged the truth a little in claiming academic honors from Oxford University. Like so many job-seekers today, it seems that padding his resumé was more than he could resist:
Oxford denies doctorate for Iranian minister
Britain’s prestigious Oxford University denied on Wednesday having given an honorary degree to an Iranian minister, after he reportedly presented a bogus document claiming the qualification.
New Interior Minister Ali Kordan’s claim, made during recent parliamentary hearings on his appointment, has landed him in hot water in Tehran, according to the English-language Tehran Times and Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.
According to The Guardian, Kordan presented a certificate on Oxford University-headed paper purportedly awarding him an “honorary doctorate of law” for “opening a new chapter” in comparative legal studies.
Ho! “Comparative legal studies”!
What was he comparing? Sharia with the rule of law?
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The certificate — allegedly awarded by the “faculty of the college of law” — was dated June 2000 was signed by three professors, Edmund Rolls, Alan Cowey and P.E. Bryant, the British newspaper said.
But a statement issued by Oxford, Britain’s oldest university, said: “The University of Oxford has no record of Mr Ali Kordan receiving an honorary doctorate or any other degree from the university.
It added that the three named professors “have all at some stage held posts at the university… However, none of them work in the field of law, and none of them would sign degree certificates.”
Mr. Kordan, when harvesting likely-looking names from Oxford’s website, must have failed to note which department his chosen mentors came from.
The Tehran Times… quoted him denying the charges about his academic qualifications, saying: “If I had known there are some doubts about my certificates, I would have submitted copies of my master’s and PhD certificates to the representatives.”
Don’t like those documents? No problem! Here, look; I’ve got plenty more — I just printed them today!
The Guardian said Ahmadinejad has publicly defended Kordan by saying he should not be judged on a “piece of torn paper.”
Ah yes, scraps of paper. Nothing important; they’re just one of life’s minor annoyances. Carried by the wind, they come to rest in the dusty gutters of Tehran, to be trodden underfoot by the Basiji as they beat unveiled women…
Hat tip: TB.