The chancellors of Flemish universities have decided unanimously to suspend all academic cooperation with Iranian institutions with immediate effect, the Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad (VLIR – Flemish University Council) announced on Thursday in a press release. The move came in protest against the situation of Brussels Free University Professor Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death and imprisoned in Iran for two years now. The Council expressed its deep concern about his fate.
The Flemish chancellors are demanding “verifiable guarantees” from the Iranian authorities that Dr. Djalali’s fundamental rights have been respected, including the right to a fair trial and access to the required medical care. “For as long as the Iranian authorities do not comply with this request, the Flemish universities will not conclude any new cooperation agreements with Iranian partners.”
“The Flemish chancellors are calling on the Iranian authorities to respect the rights of Dr. Djalali,” Herman Van Goethem, president of the VLIR and chancellor of the University of Antwerp, said.
“Human rights are an important foreign-policy guideline for the Flemish Government,” added VLIR General Secretary Koen Verlackt. “The Council thanks the Flemish Government and Flemish Parliament for their efforts and calls for all means to be used to reach a satisfactory solution for Dr. Djalali.”