Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Iran minister sacked over forgery

Ali Kordan
Kordan has become a figure of fun for presenting crudely faked credentials

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.

It is very clear that the impeachment is legal
Ali Larijani
Speaker of parliament

Parliamentary 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.

'Laughing stock'

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.

All but one of the MPs who spoke took care to distinguish their impeachment of Kordan from criticism of Ahmadinejad
Alireza, Tehran

But the certificate turned out to be an obvious forgery, which was littered with misspellings.

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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