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Netherlands: Iranian Students Challenge Study Ban

(Sept. 5, 2008) Since July 2008, the government of the Netherlands has forbidden Iranians from taking courses related to nuclear technology in Dutch schools. Under the policy, even Dutch citizens of Iranian descent who do not hold Iranian passports are not permitted to participate in nine different degree programs. A group of Iranian students and scientists in the country, unhappy with the policy, held a demonstration at the University of Amsterdam on September 1; the group is filing suit against the government on the grounds that the ban is a form of discrimination and violates the Dutch Constitution. (Iranian Students to Sue Dutch Gov't for Study Ban, FARS NEWS AGENCY, Sept. 3, 2008, Open Source Center No. IAP20080903950093.) Article 1 of that Constitution states: '[D]iscrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race, or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.” (Text of the Constitution as adopted Feb. 17, 1983 [in English], International Constitutional Law database, (last visited Sept. 4, 2008).)

For its part, the government argues that the ban is based on a 2006 United Nations resolution requiring countries to make sure that sensitive information, particularly technology that could be considered as related to nuclear weapons, not be released to Iran (Press Release, Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Iran for Failure to Halt Uranium Enrichment, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1737 (Dec. 23, 2006), available at