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MIT Student Coalition Attacks Nuclear Training for Iranians

By Charles S. Bergen

A coalition of MIT student groups will hold a rally today protesting the Institute's plan to train nuclear engineers for the government of Iran.

The rally begins at noon on the steps of the MIT Student Center and will proceed to the offices of the Department of Nuclear Engineering where a sit-in is planned.

The object of the protest is an agreement between MIT and the government of Iran to train 23 Iranian students in a special two-year nuclear engineering program beginning this fall, with an additional 23 students scheduled to join the program the following year, Mark P. Abbate, a spokesman for the MIT Coalition Against Training Nuclear Engineers for the Shah, said yesterday.

Iran is paying MIT $10,000 per year for each student, or about $1 million for the entire program, Abbate said.

The Coalition charged yesterday that "the program is an attempt to further U.S. influence in the Persian Gulf by covertly delivering nuclear weapons capability to Iran."

Alfred H. Keil, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at MIT said yesterday that the Iranian students will be studying nuclear power plant technology, that "Iran could develop nuclear capacity whether we educate them or not."

The MIT administration established an ad hoc committee ten days ago to look into the Institute's foreign engagements, Keil said. "The committee will take student opinion into account," he said.

The MIT Iranian Students Association (ISA) has also condemned the training program, according to one member who asked not to be identified because she feared legal action and deportation.

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