Rowhani thesis ‘not under formal investigation’

Glasgow Caledonian University has said it is happy that the PhD thesis of Iran’s new president elect is properly referenced and is not undertaking a formal academic investigation

July 1, 2013

Source: Mojtaba Salimi

Hassan Rowhani, who won Iran’s presidential election on June 15, gained a PhD from the university in 1999 with a thesis entitled “The Flexibility of Shariah (Islamic law), with reference to the Iranian experience”.

It was reported in the Daily Telegraph on June that the university was investigating allegations from a US activist who claimed that Dr Rowhani had lifted passages from another Iranian author.

But the university has stressed that it is not conducting an official investigation, and a check of the thesis revealed that the passages in question had been properly referenced both in the bibliography and the main text. 

“Contrary to recent media reports, no substantive issues have been raised with Glasgow Caledonian University nor therefore is there any investigation underway,” a statement on the university website says.

Some commentators have suggested that the experience of attending a Glasgow university could shape the outlook of Dr Rowhani, widely seen as a moderate in Iranian politics.

But the university said that it was believed that Dr Rowhani had lived in London while he worked on his thesis, and travelled to Glasgow for his supervisions.

Dr Rowhani’s election campaign video features shots of Glasgow Caledonian University, and after the election the university released a statement congratulating him on his victory.

Pamela Gillies, Glasgow Caledonian’s vice-chancellor, said: “I would like to congratulate our alumnus…on being elected President of Iran, a truly significant achievement.

“I hope his period as a scholar at Glasgow Caledonian University will prove beneficial as he assumes office, and I wish him every success as he works towards a positive future for Iran and its people,” the statement adds.  

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