A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

You may have noted reports like this one, to the effect that the latest round of sanctions against Iran have made it impossible for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to process payments from Iran, and therefore have forced cancellation of the administration of the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams, Graduate Record Exams (GREs) and similar tests in that country.

So ssnctions supposedly aimed at dissuading the Iranian government and military from their nuclear program, and at not harming ordinary Iranians, interferes with English teaching, graduate study (including in the US) and other opportunities for young, talented Iranians.

It is pretty widely known, I think, how much interest young Iranians have in the US and things American, despite the whole marg bar Amrika line of the regime. Once again, because of a failure to make an exception in the sanctions for educational testing, we impede our own cause and discourage our potential friends among Iranian youth. The very people who tried to make the revolution in the streets last summer. The very people we say we are trying to encourage.

1 comment:

Jillian said...

Interesting. ETS hasn't been able to accept payments from Syrians for years now; they all have to go to Beirut to take the TOEFL. Nobody seems to have noticed.