Iranian students such as Parsa Sadat at the University of Reading may be suspended if they are unable to pay their tuition fees, after money transfers out of Iran have been affected by US sanctions.
Parsa, a Law student in his final year, said that the “only viable option” given to him by his university is to travel back to Iran and provide the incoming term’s worth of tuition fees, amounting to £5,350, in cash.
In an email sent to him by the university, it was stated: “This should hopefully provide you with sufficient time to bring the money back from Iran after the Christmas break. If payment is not received by this date, you would be suspended from your course.”
Having already paid £30,600 towards his degree, he claims that he is not in a “unique position”, as other Iranian students – which Reading has “around 20”, according to their website – have been asked to do the same.
Responding in a statement, they said: “We recognise that this student is facing exceptional circumstances and are monitoring the situation. We are working with him to try to resolve this issue.”
Some have expressed that Parsa is being treated unfairly. Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East, said that he “is a victim of forces beyond his control” and that the university should be “flexible” with his tuition fees on “compassionate grounds.”
While it is unknown what the situation is among other Iranian students enrolled in other UK universities, the safety in not only raising but also transporting the funds is a cause for concern.
The danger in students transporting large amounts of money from Iran in their luggage is only heightened by Iran’s position on the blacklist for money laundering and terrorist financing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), of which the UK is a key member.