US societies reverse rules on Iranians

Two American academic societies have recently reversed their policies toward Iranian scientists.

Oct 24, 2005
John Dudley Miller

Two American academic societies have recently reversed their policies toward Iranian scientists. One, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), has decided to no longer prohibit Iranian authors from publishing in its journals. The American Concrete Institute (ACI), however, has installed a new ban barring Iranian students from taking part in an annual engineering competition they routinely enter each year.

Last month, the AIAA decided to permanently rescind the ban on publishing Iranian authors that it had enacted in May. The organization had temporarily suspended the ban in June pending its September meeting. Susan Ying, a board member, says that "most of the membership" opposed the embargo, and many had complained about it since May. AIAA had enacted the ban because the board feared it might be violating US embargo law, which prohibits Americans from trading with citizens of Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. The ban effectively targeted only Iranians, because the AIAA has no Cuban or Sudanese members or authors, according to executive director Bob Dickman.

Fredun Hojabri, former president of the alumni association for Iran's Sharif University of Technology, says the ACI's ban is particularly frustrating because over the past few years, Iranians have often won one, two, or three of the top three places in the concrete competition.