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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 14:40 UK

Iran minister retracts Oxon claim

Interior Minister Ali Kordan
Mr Kordan said he hardly believed it when Oxford confirmed the fake

An embarrassed Iranian minister has admitted a degree he said he had received from Oxford was a fake.

Interior Minister Ali Kordan said he believed he was granted an honorary degree by a representative of the university in Tehran in 2000.

But enquiries he had made since doubts were raised during his confirmation hearings in parliament had shown it was not genuine, he said.

Mr Kordan added that he had been unable to trace the intermediary.

The minister, who previously worked as a university teacher, has been under pressure to clarify the situation since he made the claim in August.

MPs started asking questions and the prestigious British academic institution said it had no record of the degree.

Mr Kordan made the admission in a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has now forwarded it to parliament, but correspondents say it is unclear what effect this will have.

The degree had ostensibly been given for his "managerial and executive experience and for submitting a thesis to Oxford University via a person who had opened an affiliate office in Tehran," the minister wrote.

He said he had filed a complaint against the missing intermediary, whom he did not name.

He said his reaction was "utter disbelief" when the university would not confirm the validity of his degree following his enquiries.




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