Two clerics visit a school in Tehran. (file photo)
Iran plans to change the content of textbooks in foreign languages used in private schools that the authorities deem out of line with the Islamic republic's values after sharp criticism of such materials by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The head of the Nongovernmental Schools and Centers in Iran said on January 15 that a call will soon be issued to create new content for foreign-language teaching books to bring them in line with Khamenei's request.
"Textbooks that are not aligned with our customs and culture will be discarded," the semiofficial ILNA news agency quoted Ahmad Mahmoudzadeh as saying. In recent years, the content of textbooks has been changed many times by order of Khamenei, but this is the first time that a change has been ordered for books used in private institutions. Khamenei has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the teaching of foreign languages, especially English, in the country's schools -- even to children in kindergarten. Following one round of criticism he voiced in 2016, the Education Ministry banned the teaching of English in primary schools. Khamenei has absolute power in the country's ruling structure and some of his edicts have angered Iranians who say they reach too deeply into their personal freedoms. Thousands have taken to the streets demanding he step down after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in police custody in mid-September. She was detained by Tehran's notorious morality police for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.
The unrest has been marked by unprecedented shows of defiance by women and schoolgirls in what is seen as the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.
Since Amini's death, more than 500 people have been killed in the police crackdown, according to rights groups. Several thousand more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.