- REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN)
- Iran has banned teaching English in primary school classrooms as the country tries to quell Western influence.
- The Iranian government has blamed the West for provoking recent mass protests against the country’s regime, which have at least left 21 dead.
- Iran claims the protests have ended, however social media still points to signs of unrest.
Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary school classrooms.
The announcement follows claims by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that early learning of the language paves the way for “cultural invasion” of Western values. The government’s decision comes shortly after a week of mass protests against the country’s leadership which spread to more than 80 cities and small towns and left at least 21 dead.
“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the High Education Council, told state TV on Saturday.
Adham added that primary education is crucial in instilling the Iranian culture and values in its students.
Khamenei has often criticized creeping Western influence in the Islamic Republic, and expressed deep concern in 2016 over the spread of English to “nursery schools,” The Guardian reported.
“That does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but [this is the] promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths,” he said at the time.
English will still be taught in middle schools and high schools.
The move came days after widespread protests
Protests in Iran began last week, initially caused by the skyrocketing prices of eggs and other basic goods, but soon escalated to ant-corruption protests that were calling on Khamenei to step down.
The Iranian government blamed its Western “enemies” for provoking the protests.
The unrest was “created … by the United States, Britain, the Zionist regime (Israel), Saudi Arabia, the hypocrites (Mujahideen) and monarchists,” read a statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on their official Sepahnews website over the weekend. “Iran’s revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain (of unrest),”
The Iranian government also shut access to popular Western-imported social media channels, including Instagram and Telegram. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been banned since 2009.
The US has been vocal in its support for protests in the country, and has previously been critical of the country’s regime.
And while the Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed victory over the protests on Sunday, social media still points to signs of unrest.
Dozens of unverified videos of Iranian citizens burning their state ID cards and government documents spread across social messaging apps, according to The Guardian, and videos of reported continued protests in Tehrani suburbs were posted on Twitter.