CORRESPONDENCE

Iran’s scientists uncrushed by decades of sanctions

US President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; JCPOA) in May attracted international condemnation. As vice-dean for research in the Faculty of Medicine at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, I stand behind Iran’s scientists, who have resolved to work even harder to maintain the country’s scientific progress (see also Nature 557, 287–288; 2018).

After the imposed war in 1980–88 and decades of Western sanctions, Iran has made remarkable advances in research, ranking 17th in the world in 2012. The JCPOA did not have much impact on scientific productivity, in part because many US sanctions remained in place. These continued to affect the purchase of books, journals, lab equipment and materials; the payment of publication charges; membership of scientific bodies; and travel to conferences and meetings. Furthermore, the US treasury department clamped down on publication in US journals of papers from Iranian government scientists (see S. Akhondzadeh Avicenna J. Med. Biotechnol. 5, 203; 2013).

In the face of Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, I hope that the international scientific community will support Iran’s efforts to contribute further to international science.

Nature 559, 331 (2018)

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.

Subjects

Sign up to Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing