Iranian government 'using research partnerships to develop arms industry'

Iranian government 'using research partnerships to develop arms industry'
The revelation comes following an investigation that revealed 11 universities were involved in research being used by the Iranian government to benefit arms industry.
2 min read
03 August, 2023
Research conducted at Imperial College London had reportedly been used to upgrade the engines of Shahed-136 drones [Getty]

Tehran is using partnerships between universities in Iran and the UK to develop their arms industry, an Iranian government document has reportedly shown.

The document, discovered by Kasra Aarabi who heads the Iran Programme at the Tony Blair Institute, allows Iran's military access to sensitive research conducted by Iranian universities and their international partners that could be used to expand its capabilities.

The document, which was issued by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, also gives the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), amongst other security services, powers to obtain the research, prompting Aarabi to state that research between the UK and Iranian universities is "being utilised by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and will end up in their hands."

The discovery came amid a government investigation into 11 UK universities, prompted by a report that found that their research collaboration with Iranian scientists was breaking UK sanctions by helping develop Iranian arms.

One of the most damning revelations in that report, published by The Jewish Chronicle, found that a UK-based academic at Imperial College London published a study that focused on upgrading the engines of drones – including those of the Shahed-136 drones Russia is using in its war against Ukraine.

Live Story

This is not the first time UK universities have been criticised for their involvement in developing arms for foreign states.

In 2018, the University of Manchester came under fire for developing graphene technology that was supplied to the Israeli Aerospace Industries through a third-party company linked to the university and its research of the technology.

UK universities contribute £490 million in investments into companies that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law, or support the Israeli military with armament, according to Palestine Solidarity Campaign.