The Netherlands is to increase its monitoring of Iranian students and researchers at Dutch universities to make sure they cannot acquire specialist knowledge which can be used to develop ballistic missiles in Iran.
The cabinet is making the move following concerns that Iran is developing ballistic missile technology and a ‘recent case’, foreign minister Stef Blok said in a briefing to parliament. Sources told broadcaster NOS the recent case refers to a student at Delft University of Technology who was able to learn about building and launching rockets.
In 2012, the Dutch courts ruled it is illegal to discriminate against Iranian students by requiring a special permit for some studies but now there are more legal options to intervene, ministers say.
Students and researchers are currently screened for links to North Korea but that will now be expanded to other countries, starting with Iran. Other countries may be introduced later if necessary.
Students who do not pass the screening will not be allowed to study in the Netherlands.
Delft University said in a reaction that it understood the sensitivity of the issue and pointed out that students and researchers from countries considered ‘risky’ already need special permission for subjects such as rocket technology.
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