In Tehran, a small group of hard-line women demonstrated Wednesday against the scholarship in front of the British Embassy. The women chanted "Death to Britain," the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Oxford's Queen's College established the Neda Agha Soltan Graduate Scholarship in Philosophy earlier this year, named for the 27-year-old student fatally shot on June 20 on the sidelines of a Tehran demonstration. Her dying moments were caught on a video viewed by millions on the Internet, and she became a potent symbol of the opposition's struggle.
"It seems that the University of Oxford has stepped up involvement in a politically motivated campaign which is not only in sharp contrast with academic objectives" but also linked to British interference in Iran's post-election turmoil, Iran's Embassy in London said in a letter to the provost of the British university's college. Queen's College confirmed it had received the letter dated Tuesday.
Iran has in the past accused Britain of playing a role in the protests following the June 12 presidential election and meddling in its internal affairs. The opposition said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election by fraud. But hard-liners have described the massive protests as a plot by Iran's enemies to overthrow the system of clerical rule through a 'velvet revolution.'
The Iranian letter said Soltan's "suspicious death" is still a criminal case being investigated by the police at home.
It said she had been shot on an isolated street far from the protesters and her "murderers" had filmed her and her companions for 20 minutes before the killing.