UAE shuts down Iranian school in Sharjah

Press TV – UAE officials have closed down an Iranian school in the emirate’s third city of Sharjah, refusing to extend its permit over what they have called illegal construction within the facility.

Ali Hosseini, the Iranian Education Ministry’s deputy for international affairs, said the facility had been leased and had not undertaken any construction activities, ISNA reported.

“Our political relations with the Emirates are not good and, therefore, some pressures are being exerted on us to close down the Iranian schools,” he said.

Iranian schools have been operating in the UAE for more than 20 years but they have faced a number of problems due to certain “political complications” over the recent years, especially those in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

Hosseini said Iran’s Education Ministry was trying to resolve the issue in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and to have the permit reinstated.

The school has 1500 students, including 500 Afghans, who have now been transferred to Dubai-based schools, the official pointed out.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Hosseini said schools in Dubai demand much higher tuition fees which most Afghan families can barely manage.

The UAE announced a partial downgrade in its Iran ties in 2016. Abu Dhabi took the move shortly after Saudi Arabia, its biggest regional ally, with whom it closely aligns its policies, broke off  relations with the Islamic Republic.

The rupture came after angry protests in front of Saudi diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad against the kingdom’s execution early that year of its leading Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

After Riyadh severed its Iran relations, Saudi officials proceeded to level strong-worded accusations of regional intervention against Tehran. Tehran has invariably spurned the claims, and instead invited Riyadh, and its regional Arab allies to dialog towards resolution of the standing issues.