Leading article: Political joke

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The Independent Online

Imagine if it turned out that Jack Straw had lied about attending a prestigious overseas university and had instead bought his "degree" on eBay. Imagine, too, that the Justice Secretary used to regale acquaintances with stories about his time at the institution that he never attended.

If you can imagine all that, you can imagine the amusement of Iranians on learning that their interior minister, Ali Kordan, never studied at Oxford University, as he used to boast, and that his degree "certificate" purporting to be from Oxford was replete with basic spelling mistakes.

But Mr Kordan is no joke politically. He is one of the key allies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president. And Mr Ahmadinejad stood by his interior minister right up until his sacking by the Iranian parliament yesterday.

So the question would seem to be: will Iranians see the funny side when they vote in the country's general elections next summer, or will they throw the clowns out?