Schweitzer, Glenn E.. "1 Introduction." U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2000-2009): Opportunities, Constraints, and Impacts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010.
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U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2000-2009): Opportunities, Constraints, and Impacts
U.S.-Iranian cooperation in science is limited. Among the previous documentation are brief discussions of training of Iranian nuclear engineers in the United States, references to U.S. foreign assistance several decades ago, and reports of narrowly focused joint activities related to the Bam earthquake, dwindling biological resources of the Caspian Sea, archeological treasures of Persia, and medical achievements of Persia and then Iran. This report complements the writings of others with an up-to-date window for viewing some previously undocumented aspects of science-related developments in Iran, which have formed the basis for bilateral cooperation.
1. For strong endorsement of the concept of science diplomacy, see: Partnership for a Secure America, “Science Diplomacy Is Crucial to U.S. Foreign Policy,” Washington, D.C., February 2010, www.psaonline.org/article.php?id=620.
2. Many books and reports have provided useful background concerning developments in Iran. They include, for example: Wilfried Buchta, Who Rules Iran? The Structureof Power in the Islamic Republic, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung), Washington, D.C., 2000; Daniel Doktori et al., Iran, Journal of International Affairs, Columbia University, New York, Spring/Summer 2007; Keith Crane, Rollie Lal, and Jeffrey Martini, Iran’sPolitical, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities, The Rand Corporation, 2008; Middle East Institute, The Iran Revolution at 30, Institute Viewpoints, Washington, D.C., 2009; David E. Thaler et al, Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Explorationof Iranian Leadership Dynamics, The Rand Cooperation, 2010.
3. For more than a decade, the Iranian Academic Association, established in 1995 and headquartered in New York, was a particularly active organization in organizing workshops in Iran and the United States, facilitating student exchanges, and assisting with visas. Its activities overlapped in a number of ways the interests of the National Academies in fields such as traffic accidents, water resources and agriculture, and biomedical engineering. www.IranianAA.org.
4. For an insightful assessment of important components of the science and technology infrastructure of Iran, see United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Iran: Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Review, United Nations, New York and Geneva, 2005. An important conclusion in this report was that Iran’s main concerns in science and technology were the following: (a) how to attract new entrepreneurs, (b) how to promote an innovation culture, and (c) what universities could do to promote innovation and entrepreneurship (Reference: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Development Board, TD/B/COM.2/69, GE.06-50005, January 5, 2006).