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Iranian Official Says Iran Intends To Ban English Lessons In Primary Schools

English-language teaching in Iran usually begins in middle school, but some primary schools with younger pupils also offer English classes.

A senior Iranian education official says Iran intends to ban English-language classes from primary schools amid warnings from Islamic leaders that the language has led to a "cultural invasion" from the West.

Mehdi Navid-Adham, chief of the High Education Council, told state-run TV on January 7 that "teaching English in government and nongovernment primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations."

"This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid," he said.

In Iran, where Persian is the official language, instruction in the English language usually begins in middle school -- where pupils generally are aged 12-14 -- but some primary schools with younger pupils also offer English classes.

It was not immediately clear if the ban had been put into place. It is likely to most affect private schools that offer English instruction to younger students.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2016 expressed concerns about the "teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools."

In a speech to educators, he said that "does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but [this is the] promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults, and youths."

Other languages have also been targeted in Iran. In 2017, Iran’s intelligence agency banned publication of a Kurdish-language instruction book, titled Reading and Writing Kurdish Kurmanji.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Rudaw, and The Independent