Iran Bans Teaching of English in Primary Schools

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A senior Iranian education official says Iran intends to ban English-language classes from primary schools amid warnings from Islamic leaders that the language has led to a "cultural invasion" from the West.

"In primary schools, the foundations should be laid to promote Farsi and Iranian culture", said Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the council, in a television interview on Saturday.

English is a popular subject in Iran, which students can usually only opt to study at secondary school. Primary education in Iran lasts six years, while middle and high school lasts another three years each.

BBC noted English language lessons are taught at the secondary school level in Iran, which begins at age 12, and that their "popularity" has led to English lessons being offered to younger students as well.

Some have pointed to comments made by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to teachers in 2016, in which he expressed unease about the teaching of English in Iran. He added that the government may also stop non-curriculum English classes.

The announcement of the prohibition of English teaching comes after a week of anti-government riots, which broke out on December 28 and Iran accuses western countries, particularly the United States, of inciting. The protests, which have voiced concert over Iran's standard of living, have resulted in at least 21 deaths have 1,000 arrests.

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Additionally, some children also attend private language institutes after their school day.

President Hassan Rouhani said today every Iranian should be free to criticise officials and has resisted calls from hardline clerics to block access to social media and messaging apps. Shiva, a teacher of English at an affluent northern Tehran school, also criticised the proposed ban.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran's security backbone since the 1979 revolution that created the Islamic republic, said on Sunday it ended the protests which it claims were stirred up by "foreign enemies" such as the Central Intelligence Agency and Israeli spooks Mossad.

His comments come after the biggest anti-regime protests in nearly a decade, which the authorities blamed on a foreign conspiracy led by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Will anti-government protests in Iran escalate Middle East tensions?

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