scientific aspects of similar problems encountered in other settings (e.g., pollution impacts on biodiversity in the Caspian Sea and in lakes of North America). Joint efforts have frequently clarified the magnitude and importance of problems that should be of international concern but are not receiving adequate preventive attention in national programs (e.g., dust storms reaching central Tehran due to sand uptake far to the west of the capital). At times, visiting scientists witness phenomena that are inconsistent with global trends (e.g., frequency of certain forms of stomach cancer in Iran), see developments that will soon become global trends (e.g., increasing obesity in the United States), and hear warnings of looming global disasters (e.g., impacts of climate change in both countries).
The thousands of Iranian-American scientists who have emigrated to the United States in recent decades and have then successfully pursued scientific careers provide strong testimony to the increasing internationalization of (a) scientific knowledge and (b) scientific approaches that lead to new discoveries and new applications of science. Such migrations of scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that a sound basis for scientific inquiry can transcend geographical and political boundaries. To participate effectively in modern science, researchers simply cannot ignore achievements of colleagues in distant lands.
Many scientists in the United States and Iran routinely rely on a global outreach while at times recognizing the limitations on their contributions to science that result from current constraints on U.S.-Iran cooperation. But many other Iranian scientists are not accustomed to searching through the findings of foreign colleagues for solutions to common problems. Thus, it is not surprising that Iran has both (a) scientific strengths, which take into account experiences elsewhere (e.g., treatment of drug addiction), and (b) weaknesses in research areas, which are well developed in other countries (e.g., ecological modeling of watersheds). Thus, the world can benefit from some of Iran’s strengths (e.g., Iran’s contribution to the earthquake response effort in Pakistan side-by-side with the U.S. response effort), and Iran can begin to catch up in other areas by following the lead of more advanced colleagues from abroad (e.g., mastering techniques for liver transplants). There are some areas wherein all can learn together (e.g., personalized medicine).
Few aspects of international cooperation can be kept under wraps in laboratories or at field investigation sites. Scientists, journalists, and historians throughout the world prepare frequent commentaries for the public on the value and details of international scientific cooperation. They regularly