No to Academic Boycott of Iran

The Washington Post reports that:

Momentum is building behind an academic boycott of Iran to pressure the government to free imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who was jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison on May 8 after more than four months under house arrest.

Norm says – and I agree with him – that:

I don’t think this is well-judged as a form of solidarity and protest. It isolates Iranian academics if Westerners decline to attend conferences in Iran. Wouldn’t it be better precisely to attend those conferences, using the opportunity to speak against the actions of the Iranian government in attacking and imprisoning Iranian intellectuals?

Meanwhile, Scholars at Risk requests that urgent letters of appeal, emails and faxes be sent:

–respectfully calling on the authorities to publicly explain the reasons for Dr. Esfandiari’s arrest and to work for her immediate release;

–respectfully seeking assurances of Dr. Esfandiari’s physical well-being while she is in custody pending any release or proceedings;

–respectfully seeking guarantees that Dr. Esfandiari has immediate access to legal counsel, to family and to any necessary medical treatment;

–respectfully reminding authorities that the free exchange of ideas across national boundaries is a core value of academic freedom and higher education generally.