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English language classes set to become next battleground in Iran

President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the learning of foreign languages in helping Iran’s economy, which put him at odds with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During a May 2 speech to Iranian teachers, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned about the designs of an "international hegemonic system" led by the United States, Israel and other hostile countries. He said this system has designs to change the culture of Iran's youth into one that is not Islamic or indigenous. As an example of this phenomenon, Khamenei raised the issue of the promotion of English in Iranian schools.

While English language classes are mandatory for high school students in Iran, Khamenei is concerned that even some kindergartens are teaching English now. Khamenei clarified that he is not opposed to learning a foreign language, but for him "the prime issue is the promotion of a foreign language among children, adolescents and youth."

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