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Iran minister sacked over forgery
Tehran, Nov 4 (Agencies):
Published on 5 Nov. 2008 12:44 AM IST
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Iran’s parliament has voted to sack Interior Minister Ali Kordan after he admitted a degree he said he obtained from Oxford University was a forgery. Mr Kordan said he had received the doctoral certificate in good faith, but it was later revealed as a crude fake. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran says the row could have serious implications for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. MPs have accused the president of grave naivety for having been taken in by the lies of his minister. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said 188 MPs from a total of 247 had voted for a motion to impeach Mr Kordan. Forty-five voted against the motion and 14 abstained. It was the 10th change in Mr Ahmadinejad’s cabinet of 21 ministers; under Iran’s constitution the entire cabinet has to be submitted to a new vote of confidence if half its members change. The president said before the impeachment hearing that the proceedings were illegitimate, so it is not clear whether he will accept the vote, our correspondent says. Mr Kordan claims he was approached with the offer of a doctorate by the Tehran representative of an institution described as the London Oxford University. But the certificate turned out to be a obvious forgery, which was littered with mis-spellings. The scandal has made the former minister a national laughing stock, with a fake resignation letter being passed round purporting to be from him, but full of misprints and crossings-out. One MP said Mr Kordan - who worked as a university lecturer - had related invented tales to his students about his days in Oxford. In fact he has never visited and does not even have a first degree. The post of interior minister is crucial in organising the presidential elections which are due to be held in the middle of 2009.

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