Economic and trade sanctions are inhuman and undermine the basic rights of nations. Particularly when they hinder the advancement of science and spreading of knowledge, sanctions counter human rights. Science belongs to all, research and efforts to understand the secrets of life and to promote the frontiers of knowledge are the fundamental rights of all nations.
Iran has been facing sanctions now for several years. In fact, we have been practically always under one form or another of sanctions and economic pressures for the past thirty years.
Inspite of those hurdles Iran has experienced unprecedented economic, scientific and technological advances in the past years. The growth in ISI published articles and citations from Iranin research has been acknowledged worldwide. Only recently the ultraconservative government in power has enacted policies which are slowing the country's pace .
A Ph.D. student of mine had purchased a reagent she needed for her cell culture work on her thesis. The reagent was not high-tech or anything sensitive of that nature. I do not know whether anyone is interested, but she is working on a very novel topic ie; to study the effect of certain neurotransmitters on cord blood cells, which are now highly regarded in transplantation studies. She had ordered the reagent from a local company who dealt with an American producer on the other side. When she had received the reagent she found that the production label and lot number did not match with the company information provided.
She had sent an email to the customer services of the corporation asking them to verify the authenticity of the product and the reason for the discrepancy. The person in charge of the customer had replied that since Iran was under sanctions he could not reply. Surprised and shocked my student had asked him again " But I already have your product! I only need some product verification, what does this have to do with sanctions!" The customer service officer had provided the same answer again.
We returned the reagent to the company and ordered another lot from another American corporation through a local dealer, we also had the option of several European companies as well. They provided the reagent and all necessary technical assistance without any hesitation. We had lost a couple weeks and some dollars but the research will continue. Sanctions cannot prevent a nation from advancing. They might slow down our pace of growth but instead we have learned how to persevere and resist in difficult circumstances .