Ali Ansari , leading academic and Reader in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews, accepted the public apology of Zed Books Publishing over the claims of Mohammed Mohaddessin against him.
Ali Ansari* , leading academic and Reader in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews, accepted the public apology of Zed Books Publishing over the claims of Mohammed Mohaddessin against him.
This apology’s over a claim that Ansari whole-heartedly endorsed atrocities committed under the Iranian regime.
Ali Ansari has given expert evidence on Iran to the House of Commons select committee on foreign affairs.
He brought High Court proceedings against Zed Books Ltd over comments made in the book Enemies of the Ayatollahs by Mohammed Mohaddessin, an opponent of the Iranian government (and a member of Mojahedin-e Khalq organization).
His solicitor, Julia Schopflin, told Mr Justice Gray in London that the book characterised certain policies of the regime as "genocidal" and was highly critical of widespread executions, on occasions involving children as young as 13.
In the book, Dr Ansari was described as an "ardent apologist" and a "fervent proponent" of a regime whose policies the author put on a par with the Nazis.
Ms Schopflin said this would inevitably lead people to conclude that Dr Ansari whole-heartedly endorsed and supported the atrocities committed by the ruling theocracy, enthusiastically argued in defence of that regime and wilfully misrepresented the truth about it.
"As an historian and commentator on Iran, the claimant's role is to observe developments dispassionately and assess them impartially.
"In this context, to depict him as a propagandist for a regime responsible for the ruthless persecution that the author describes as having been carried out and as someone prepared to excuse the atrocities that the author says the regime committed clearly undermines everything that Dr Ansari stands for."
She said that on receiving Dr Ansari's complaint, the publisher accepted fully that there was no basis for what had been written about him and immediately offered him an apology.
It had been agreed that a suitable sum would be paid to an appropriate charity and Dr Ansari's legal costs met in full.
The counsel for the publisher, Joanne Neenan, apologised for the damage and embarrassment caused by the allegations, which, she accepted, were completely untrue.
Zed had agreed not to republish them and all relevant copies of the book had been recalled and the offending material destroyed.
* Dr. Ali Ansari is a Reader in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews. He specializes in the political history of the modern Middle East. Dr. Ansari has previously taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, University of Durham and the University of Exeter.
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