Controversial figure Tariq Ramadan has been sacked as a visiting professor at Rotterdam’s highly reputed Erasmus University for the reason of not giving up presenting the presstv talk show Islam & Life produced in London studios. Presstv is an English language Iranian news channel largely imitating western formats such as BBC World News or CNN as well as Qatar-based Al Jazeera. Claims that it is independent of any commercial or governmental influence are not trustworthy in particular with respect to the latter. Definitely, presstv is, since its foundation in late 2007, an indispensable source when trying to follow sometimes confusing political news in Iran. One has to be very cautious, though. Current appearances of Mohammad Marandi, assistant professor at University of Tehran, on presstv (the “basiji professor” as he is called by his adversaries), who is notorious for eloquently trivializing the regime’s brutal oppression of the opposition movement in the aftermath of the recent election and power struggles within the labyrinthine ruling establishment have substantiated grave concerns about presstv lopsidedly featuring certain individuals acting solely as the regime’s mouthpieces. See, for example disgraceful Marandi in a revealing interview of July 27 with brave Fareed Zakaria at CNN.
Now, Ramadan, who is denied a US visa for some time now, could not resolve doubts that he acted as a mouthpiece of post-election Iran as well. In any case, Erasmus University’s decision should be seen as wrong as false accusations of Iranian prosecutors in the current show trials against top members of Iran’s opposition movement that what has been called the Green Revolution has mainly been orchestrated by Western powers (doubts continue to exist, though, even when Ali Khamenei has expressed yesterday his strong beliefs that Western powers were not involved). The University’s decision should be based on content. So far, Ramadan has not produced such scandalous contributions on presstv as Marandi did.
Ramadan, who is right now on vacation in Morocco, has announced that he would appeal Erasmus’ decision. He may be well-advised also revising his decision of appearing presently on presstv.