Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sanctions and research on cord blood cells

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 .


Anonymous said...

(post this one please, thank you!)

Dear Dr. Ebtekar,
You're right about perseverance.
That which does not kill us, makes us stronger!

An enlightened human being who has found his/her connection to humanity (or God, using the religious lingo) may be motivated only by Justice and Love, but unfortunately at this point in the history of mankind, there are still far more petty men ruling over human societies, men who are driven only by their SELFISH desires and wants, that such primitive motivations and drivers as economic incentives or risks, still remain some of the most effective ways of correcting for social discord and disharmony!
Big Powers call it the diplomacy of "Carrot and Stick"! This is the reason they tend to believe in running the world according to the phrase:

"It's the Money, Stupid!"

In this example of Iran-USA relations:

If it wasn't for radical and antagonizing steps taken by some unreasonable decision makers in Iran, many of these sanctions would not have had to be imposed;

BUT also,

If not for the perseverance and hard work of men and women like your PhD student, these Big Powers and the imposers of many of these sanctions will not come to the point of realization and recognition of the fact that the Iranian society and culture - no matter how primitively some of their leaders may sound and act - the PEOPLE are far more spiritual, above materialistic motivations, and beyond the morality level of "Carrot and Stick", than to respond to such fruitless, demeaning and disrespectful measures taken against them as Economic Sanctions!!!

As it says in the OLD Iranian National anthem:

"dar raahe to, key arzeshi daarad in jaane maa? paayandeh baad khaake Iran-e maa"!"


In working for you (Iran), what value do our lives hold? May the soil of our beloved Iran stay fertile forever!

My Best Wishes to you and your PhD student, and indeed all Iranian PhD students worldwide! :-)

Anonymous said...

hi dear dr. ebtekar
i definitly agree with you .
i wish you success in your work.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Ebtekar,
Thanks a lot for this analytic article which shows thier reality.

Anonymous said...

where are you Dr. Ebtekar? tell us what you did during the Teachers' Week in Iran? did you organize any speeches or gatherings at your university? did Tehran's City Council organize any events or rallies to honor teachers and professors of Tehran's schools and universities? neither IRIB nor PressTV have any news reports about this important week!

is anybody working toward teaching the young generation the TRUTH about Ostad Motahari's vision and message?
these kids of under 30, do they know why their mothers and fathers participated and gave their lives in a revolution followed by a war 30 years ago?
do they know the REAL stories about the sacrifices made, and the instrumental roles played in that revolution by people like Ayatollah Taleghani, Dr. Beheshti, Ostad Motahari, Dr. Ali Shariati, Jalal Al-Ahmad, and ...?
do they know the stories behind the ones (the last 2) who were killed by the Shah's agents before the revolution, and the ones (the first 3) who were killed by the enemies of Iran's Islamic Revolution right at the begining of that glorious revolution?

please join forces with other politicians, extend hands of cooperation and alliance across all political parties, and work together toward reviving the same passion and ferver as there was 30 years ago!
today, in these globally dangerous times for Iran, this new generation of complacent and oblivious Iranian urban kids, need to attain the same level of revolutionary awareness and comittment to an independent and free Iran as there was in their mothers and fathers back then!
please keep the spirit of the REVOLUTION alive, but please do justice to that spirit, don't let the Iranian state-run media portray it from a very narrow angle, selecting only a few, and forgetting the rest! it's time to revive the revolutionary ideas of the time you were a high school student Dr. Ebtekar!

it's time to win the second phase of that revolution!
Islamic Republic was successfully formed back then, now lets realize the second dream, the other part of that revolution's slogan:
(as in the slogan "Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic")

and then if this dream succeeds and gets achieved and realized as well, then perhaps a couple of decades from now, when Mr. Khatami becomes the next Supreme Leader, then the last phase of the revolution can also start, and the one last dream and goal included in that slogan can come to full fruition:

God bless Iran!

esteghlal, azadi, jomhooriye eslami!

Anonymous said...

OK, the sanctions have been bad for Iran, but why are you rejecting the incentives before you even know what they are?!

Anonymous said...

@ jim;
The incentives are just a shameful game 5+1 have been playing for 2 years now.

what happened Last time when Iran accepted the so called incentives? what happened when Iran decided to trust the E3 & go for the incentives & "temporarily & voluntarily" halts its uranium enrichment process (which according to NPT was & still is Iran's undeniable right)? what happened when Iran signed the Paris agreement?

Not only the E3 did not provide the incentives, they started to kill time so that Khatami's presidency would finish.

This was so obvious that the european workgropus even refused to define "clear guarantees" they expected Iran to provide.

It didn't stop there; the European all forgot about the Paris agreement which clearly admitted Iran has the right to enrich the Uranium & declared Iran should never enrich Uranium herself!

Now, considering all that, who in their freaking minds would accept the "incentives"?