Tehran on the Charles


Tremors from the U.S. Embassy drama in Iran were felt in Cambridge this winter when federal immigration officials paid a visit to the University.

Students at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) balked at a Carter administration directive requiring all Iranian students to report to the immigration office by December 14 to certify their status as full-time students. In November Harvard and MIT students issued a statement declaring that they would not put up with the government's "selective harassment" and refused to report their status until Carter's order proved legal.

The University took a halfway stance, attempting to mollify Iranian students and the government at the same time by agreeing to provide information on the government requirement but declining to force students to comply.

The Harvard International Office began advising the approximately 35 Iranian Harvard students about the documents they would need to prove to immigration officials that they are full-time students.

By December about one-third of Harvard's Iranian students reported to U.S. Immigration Service officers. Those not conforming to the ruling risk deportation proceedings, but no Harvard student has yet been deported.

Meanwhile, back in the embassy, two Harvard graduates found themselves caught in the middle of the confrontation when Elizabeth Ann Swift '62 and John W. Limbert '64, a State Department political affairs officer, were taken hostage.