Press Release by
Iranian American Council (NIAC), Washington, DC
that are required for students to study abroad have been reinstated in Iran
after being disrupted temporarily by US and UN sanctions. The National Iranian
American Council (NIAC) welcomes this news, but is concerned that this is just
one example of how broad new sanctions will invariably punish innocent Iranians.
"It is welcome news that we have resolved this particular issue, but it is a
real tragedy that the very first victims of the new sanctions were young
Iranians who dream of studying in the US," said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy
Director. "Unfortunately, this episode is likely just the first sign of things
to come. Sanctions designed to indiscriminately punish and isolate Iran are
inevitably going to punish innocent Iranians who are the greatest allies of
democracy and human rights in Iran."
On July 16, Educational Testing Service (ETS), the US-based company that
administers tests like the TOEFL and GRE, suspended testing in Iran because it
was unable to process payments from Iran under new US-led sanctions.
In response, NIAC led a grassroots campaign of Iranian Americans to call on the
Obama administration to intervene and ensure that Iranian students could
continue to study abroad. NIAC also reiterated its call for the Obama
Administration to change the "single-entry only" student visa policy. Under that
policy, Iranians studying at American colleges cannot leave the US at any point
during their studies without losing their visas.
According to ETS, the testing problem has now been resolved. While the US
government did intervene to address the testing situation, the "single entry
only" issue has not yet been addressed.
Students wishing to take the TOEFL, GRE or other tests may register through
Iran's National Organization of Educational Testing (Sazman Sanjesh), or may
register directly with ETS if they have a credit or debit card issued by a bank
that is not prohibited under US or UN sanctions.
ETS noted that demand in Iran for the TOEFL, an English-language proficiency
exam required by most top colleges in the US and Europe, is among the highest
for any of the countries in which the test is offered. Tom Ewing, spokesperson
for ETS, told NIAC, "ETS has been providing the test in Iran since 1964, and is
looking forward to continuing to do so in the future."
The Iran Sanctions Act recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the
President significantly expands the scope of US restrictions and jurisdiction
over financial transactions with Iran. The new law, which will not fully take
effect until September, has caused international banks, financial institutions,
and other companies to completely withdraw from Iran. The bank that processed
Iranian transactions for ETS was among those institutions to end operations in
Iran, leaving ETS with no means to process fees and payments from Iranian
students. That issue has now been resolved, but it is unclear what other
institutions, activities, and individuals will be unintentionally punished by
the new sanctions measures.
... Payvand News - 07/30/10 ... --