You think Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is facing tough scrutiny? The nominee for Iran's powerful position of Oil Minister, Ali Saeedlou, couldn't get past his educational résumé. A political protégé of Iran's new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Saeedlou had no oil-industry experience but boasted an impressive credential: a Ph.D. in "strategic management" from Hartford University, awarded in 2003, according to an official résumé distributed by the Iranian government.
But last week a member of Iran's Parliament asked Saeedlou how he could have received a doctorate from an American university when he was supposedly living in Iran. Saeedlou admitted that Hartford (no relation to the University of Hartford) is an online institution. State education authorities in Oregon who monitor so-called diploma mills have had their eye on for-profit Hartford University, which is registered in the tiny Pacific offshore banking haven of Vanuatu and offers courses leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees that can cost thousands of dollars. Saeedlou's diploma didn't do him much good. The members of Iran's Parliament voted to block his appointment. --By Adam Zagorin