Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

GB Council in Iran: Your views

Here is a selection of BBC website readers' reaction to the British Council's decision to suspend activities in Iran. Iran has said the cultural centre was operating illegally in Tehran.

I'm an Iranian doing a PhD at one of the most prestigious British universities. Frankly, I owe my current situation and this privilege, after God, to the British Council in Iran. It was there I attended the IELTS test so that I could qualify to study in Britain. However, I have to confess that I always hated their local (Iranian) employees. They always treated other Iranians like aliens and they tried to humiliate us. Also, as you know Iran is an Islamic country but the British Council in Tehran employed non-Muslim people from Iran which was quite unacceptable and most irritating. So, they (the Iranian employees) deserved to be forced to resign and I'm very happy for that.

On the other hand, the decision made by the Iranian authorities is totally unacceptable and now I'd recommend other British academic sectors suspend their activities in Iran to make more trouble for the government of Iran.
Ali, Warwick

I believe the British Council is not a non-diplomatic centre and its main goal in Iran is spying and nothing else.
Nemat Hajami, Anzali- Islamic Repuplic of Iran

I am not pro the religious government in Iran but I also do not trust British government. The fact is the UK has never had good intentions towards Iran and has tried number of times to invade Iran even in last two centuries. Now with supporting UN sanctions against Iran, when Iranian people have to ration electricity and suffer lots of hardship... it takes lots of nerve to want to be welcomed to Iran. I am surprised that the Iranian government has not cut off all relationships with GB.
Cirus Hoshiar, Esfahan-Iran

As a former Deputy-Director of the British Council (in Israel), I can only say that this is a case of the Iranians cutting off their noses to spite their faces. The British Council is Britain's most value-for-money foreign representation and all countries benefit from the amazing work they do. The losers in this case, sadly, can only be the Iranian people.
Jack Schuldenfrei, Raanana, Israel

I completely agree with Iranian government's decision to expel the British Council from our country because, as everybody knows, this is just an intelligence agency and had a hidden agenda against freedom and democracy in Iran. Actually, we Iranian people don't want the so called "British Council" back in our country under any circumstances. Why doesn't the British government spend the huge amount of money that it costs running the council around the world, in its own country instead? There are a lot of things it can do to improve the life of millions of miserable British citizens.
Reza Ali, Tehran

I am an American-Iranian. I have worked with the British Council on many occasions. Once in India. And when I was living in Iran (before 1996) I took Cambridge University certificate exams and had to work closely with the centre. Based on these two experiences, working with the British Council in two different countries, I'd say they are fantastic. I am terribly sad about this news. It should have not happened. Cultural centres of foreign embassies are often one of the best vehicles for any cultural and intellectual exchange between different countries and different people. And both governments, I am sure, would enjoy the richness of such exchange. The benefit, I believe, goes directly to the people. Closing this line, is nothing short of drawing a thick curtain between two minds and stopping two hands to reach out!
Proshot, Loughborough, UK

I have been to the British Council in Tehran a few times, its activities including English language teaching and testing and preparing Iranian students (usually the wealthy ones) to study in UK might all sound all apolitical, but not to the revolutionary and anti-western mind. BC activities in the spread of English and Western culture are indeed political to any individual or government thriving to be independent.
Saman Jamshidifard, Leeds

I did an IELTS test in the Council in 2003 and I also used its library, which specialises in Iranian studies and it is a rich library for a while. It is regretful that it has been closed.
Hamid, Tehran

I wrote my IELTS exam at the British Council in Tehran about 5 years ago - which at the time, was the only place offering the test. I would have otherwise had to travel to UAE or Cyprus to write the test. The test allows non-native speakers to demonstrate language skills and enrol in North American universities. The building was a historic site on its own. It's a shame they are abolishing the very few (and perhaps the only) authentic British resources in Iran. It's all geared towards more and more isolation.
Lola A, Canada

People in Iran do not trust the British regime, because of its irrational and spiteful attitude towards Iran and the people of the region. The invasion of Iraq is a good example of this. British history in Iran is very negative and it's actions today are not considered by most people to be innocent.
Sasan Taymourian, Tehran

Print Sponsor

UK culture body halts Iran work
05 Feb 09 |  Middle East
Iran protest at UK Queen's party
14 Jun 07 |  Middle East
Timeline: Iran
06 Jan 09 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
06 Jan 09 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific