AFP reports that the United Nations educational and scientific
body announced today, November 9, that it is not involved in the Philosophy Day
events in Iran which is supposed to run between 21 and 23 of November.
While UNESCO has not officially announced its objections to collaborating with Iran in this event, Canadian Press reports that "diplomats said the move was partly a reaction to restrictions on the teaching of social sciences at Iranian universities."
Islamic Republic has imposed restrictions on 12 university fields as their current curricula have been deemed incompatible with Islamic principles.
Iranian universities are not currently allowed to expand or start departments in these fields which include philosophy.
UNESCO had agreed to hold the World Philosophy Day events in Iran two years ago. However, the UN educational and scientific body has been heavily criticized in the past weeks for allowing such an event take place in Iran.
A recent petition in Persian signed by a group of Iranian scholars and academics both inside and outside Iran was issued calling for a boycott of the events in Iran. Earlier a similar petition in English was signed by philosophers from all over the world.
UNESCO first decided to set up events in other cities of the world at the same time so that Tehran would not appear as the main centre for the event, but today the organization announced a complete disassociation with the events in Tehran.
The move was commended by the French foreign ministry which announced in a statement that "the context of repression that reigns today in Iran ... is incompatible with the values of culture, humanism and tolerance of which UNESCO is the symbol."
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