Scholarship in honor of Neda draws criticism from Iran | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 12.11.2009

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Scholarship in honor of Neda draws criticism from Iran

Oxford University has created a scholarship in the name of Neda, an Iranian student who died during election protests in June. The move has drawn condemnation from Tehran.

Protestors hold up pictures of Neda

Neda's death did not go unnoticed in Europe

Iran has condemned England's Oxford University for creating a scholarship in honor of Neda Agha-Soltan, a 27-year-old philosophy student who was shot and killed over the summer during election protests in Iran.

She became a symbol of the protests when her death was captured on video and viewed by millions on the Internet.

In a letter sent to Oxford from the Iranian Embassy in London, Iran called the scholarship a "politically motivated move." The Iranian government has repeatedly claimed that Agha-Soltan's death was staged by enemies of the state.

Oxford's Queen's College created the Neda Agha Soltan Graduate Scholarship in Philosophy earlier this year, which is intended for philosophy students of Iranian descent.

"The college is keen to support graduate students," said Professor Paul Madden, Provost of Queen's College. The scholarship will help Iranian students to study at Oxford, regardless of their financial background.

He added: "donors make their own decisions, within reason, on how to name scholarships that they fund. In this case, the donor who was instrumental in establishing the scholarship is a British citizen and is well known to the college."

The name of the donor has not been released.

Editor: Trinity Hartman

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