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Wed 1 Oct 2008 12:35 AM

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Iran minister admits holding fake Oxford degree

Interior minister Ali Korda says he obtained degree from middleman who has now vanished.

Iran minister admits holding fake Oxford degree
UNDER EXAMINATION: Irans Interior Minister, Ali Kordan (pictured), is accused of cheating. (Getty Images)

Iran's Interior Minister Ali Kordan has admitted to holding a fake Oxford University degree which he thought was valid, coming clean after weeks of controversy, a newspaper reported on Tuesday."In a letter to the president on Saturday, Ali Kordan said he had pressed charges against the person who claimed to represent Oxford University in Tehran as soon as he realised his degree was fake," the government daily Iran said.

Pressure has been mounting on Kordan after Britain's prestigious university denied awarding him any qualification through a representative.

"Over the past eight years, I never doubted the validity of the degree and that's why I presented it in the course of the confidence vote," Kordan wrote in his letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The minister, who was appointed in August, said he approached Oxford University after MPs cast doubt on his degree, but "to my utter disbelief, the university did not confirm [the degree] when my representative went there".

The degree had been issued for his "managerial and executive experience and for submitting a thesis to Oxford University via a person who had opened an affiliate office in Tehran in English-language affairs," the minister said.

Kordan said his search for the intermediary had proven fruitless and that he had filed a complaint against the unnamed person on Sept. 14.

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