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Iranian Minister Fired Over Fake Oxford Degree

Ali Kordan

Ali Kordan

Iran's parliament has sacked Interior Minister Ali Kordan for forging a degree from Britain's prestigious Oxford University.

Kordan is widely known as a President Mahmud Ahmadinejad supporter and his impeachment is seen by many Iranians as a major embarrassment as well as a political blow to the president.

Under Iranian laws, the interior minister is a powerful position directly in charge of holding elections. The next presidential elections is to take part in June 2009 and Ahmadinejad is expected to seek a new term in office.

The conservative politician, who was approved to the post last August, claimed to have an honorary doctorate in law from Oxford. However, Iranian media and politicians have been questioning Kordan's educational credentials, accusing him of forging the degree.

The minister initially denied the charge as politically motivated, and he even published what he called a copy of his Oxford degree, which was vague and full of spelling mistakes.

However, Oxford University issued a statement in August – shortly after Kordan's appointment -- saying it "has no record of Mr. Ali Kordan receiving an honorary doctorate or any other degree from the university."

Last month, Kordan finally admitted to having a fake degree. However, the former minister still insists his impeachment was plotted by foreign enemies, such as the United States and Israel.

Before the parliamentary vote, the 56-year-old Kordan said: "I have 30 years of executive background" and "I don't need a degree."