Birmingham University will this September receive the first batch of 60 students from Amirkabir University in Tehran. Amirkabir has been accused by intelligence agencies of operating as a front for the secret purchase of nuclear technology by Iran.
The scheme, devised by Birmingham to plug a predicted £800,000 deficit, may be forced to close if the United Nations imposes sanctions against Iran.
Mark Fitzpatrick, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “Any kind of technical exchange with organisations that are involved in Iran’s nuclear or missile work would likely fall to a cut-off at a later stage.”
The Iranian university has helped develop technology used in the manufacture of nuclear warheads, and its engineers are carrying out research into missile guidance systems.
This could be a series, starting with Georgetown and Harvard accepting $20-million donations from from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia.