Iranian Woman Banned from Australia for WMD Association

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By Athena Yenko | December 11, 2013 5:44 PM EST

An Iranian woman, who had topped 28 applicants for the 2010 PhD scholarship in the University of Queensland was banned from having her scholarship in Australia.

The court found her associated in materialising weapons of mass destructions as proven by seven documents presented by the Federal Government.

"This is a lady of very high scholarly merit; these are the sorts of people we want to attract to Australia for study," as told by her lawyer.

Professor Andrejs Atrens, said the woman who cannot be named worked on a project titled "Influence of hydrogen on metallic components for clean energy". This project was partly funded by the government and there was no proof of any association with WMD.

The woman, supported by her legal team, wanted to see the documents but ASIO and Defence claimed "public interest immunity". Instead, the court upheld that the woman, being a graduate from a reputable university in Iran might be unaware that "something in her past or in her associations" linked her to WMD.

"She can't refute these claims, she doesn't have the opportunity to say 'that's wrong'," her lawyer said as they were denied access to the evidences.

The woman was surprised about the court's decision because she has no interest in weapons. Now, she feared that her whole career will be affected by the ban imposed on her. She thinks that the court's decision was contradicting as it was the Australian government itself who granted her the PhD scholarship.

However, the court said that there is nothing surprising about its decision since Australia's migration law allows denial of visa to an individual declared by the foreign minister to be "directly or indirectly associated with the proliferation of WMDs."

"There is nothing surprising about the proposition that we seek to maintain our own secrets and discover the secrets of others. Our secrets include the extent of our own knowledge of the secrets of others, and the methods we use to collect information and evaluate and distribute it," the court said.


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