U.S.- Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2010–2016)
A Resilient Program but an Uncertain Future
Glenn E. Schweitzer
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS500 Fifth Street, NWWashington, DC 20001
The activities from 2010 to 2016 discussed in this report were supported by Contract No. 10003040 with the Department of State, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the Thomas Lincoln Casey Fund, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-46399-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-46399-8
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24861
COVER: Seismograph: Cooperation in seismic science and technology began shortly after the earthquake in Bam in 2003 and has been an outstanding example of successful U.S.-Iran cooperation. Solar Panels: Cooperation in solar energy began in 2011 and offers many opportunities for cooperation as Iran rapidly increases its technical capabilities. Lake Urmia: Since 2013, Iranian and American scientists have worked together to help prevent further deterioration of this saline lake of global interest.
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Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2010-2016): A Resilient Program but an Uncertain Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https:doi.org/10.17226/24861.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.
The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.
Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
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Preface and Acknowledgments
From 2010 to 2016, more than 700 American and Iranian scientists, engineers, and health specialists participated in the cooperative activities sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and their partners in the United States and Iran that are discussed in this report. These specialists deserve many accolades for their joint efforts to contribute to and document numerous advances in science, technology, and health and to provide fresh perspectives for addressing important challenges in a variety of fields of global interest. Despite the political acrimony and constraints on international communication that have separated the United States and Iran in recent years, the interest in participating in joint efforts has been steady. At the same time, the interest in the National Academies’ programs of the dozens of universities, research centers, and other organizations in the two countries that are the home institutions of the program participants has been essential for ensuring the success of activities carried out in the United States, Iran, and other countries.
In Washington, D.C., the Department of State (the department) has been an essential supporter of the National Academies’ program. The department has been readily available to provide guidance concerning the uncertain political landscape and the ever-tightening legal constraints on cooperation. It has helped develop innovative steps that could be taken to ensure compliance with the increasing reach of economic sanctions. Also, the nongovernmental organization World Learning, a long-time partner of
the department, has played an important role in facilitating scientist-to-scientist exchanges.
As has been the case since the inception of the program of cooperation involving Iranian and American colleagues in 2000, the leadership of the National Academies has provided strong support and consistent funding to ensure that the program would continue despite political and administrative barriers to implementation. At the same time, colleagues from the University of Arizona with decades of experience in promoting U.S.-Iranian collaboration, together with foreign policy experts in Washington, have contributed invaluable assistance to the National Academies’ staff to improve awareness of the historical context and of up-to-date developments in Iran that have been important in developing and implementing appropriate programs.
For many years, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation has provided financial support for a variety of U.S.-Iran collaborative activities in the United States and abroad. During the time period under consideration, the Fondation des Treilles in Paris, France, generously opened the doors of its conference center in Tourtour to welcome three groups of specialists from the United States, France, and Iran for week-long retreats. In the United States, the University of California at Irvine has offered hospitality for a number of workshops held at the National Academies’ conference center on the edge of the university campus. All the while, a number of Iranian organizations have provided funding and made arrangements for a variety of collaborative activities in Iran.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Agre, Johns Hopkins University; Najmedin Meshkati, University of Southern California; Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council; Soroosh Sorooshian, University of California, Irvine; and James Timbie, Stanford University.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael Clegg, University
of California, Irvine. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the author and the National Academies.
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