Even though their team didn’t make it into the finals, the Iranians — five who made arguments, a coach and one former participant who served as a judge — told Al-Monitor they were thrilled just to have gotten visas.
The Iranian law students told Al-Monitor they are gratified by the warm reception they have received.
“What makes me enthusiastic about the whole process is that I’m meeting everyone from all over the world,” Bahar Babapour, 18, told Al-Monitor. “The Americans are really showing that what they think of Iranians is different from what their lovely president thinks of us. They know there are bad people and good people in all countries and that if we are here for this competition, we cannot be one of the bad ones.”
In Iran, unlike the United States, students can opt to study law as undergraduates. Babapour, who is from Dezful in southern Iran, is a freshman at Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran. Her team was one of two in Iran that qualified for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, which has attracted law students around the world for 58 years.
The Iranians are among participants from nearly 90 countries and more than 550 law schools. The competition simulates fictional disputes between countries before the International Court of Justice, a UN body located in The Hague. The students prepare both oral and written arguments on various sides of particular questions.
This year’s topics are particularly relevant for Iran and the Middle East in general, dealing with urgent environmental and cultural matters.
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