Sep 11, 2019 06:01 UTC
  • Iran sanctions curbing global scientific progress: Top journal

The British medical journal BMJ Global Health says US sanctions on Iran, a leading country in the world for science, are curtailing global scientific progress.

According to Press TV, the publication said as a result of the draconian sanctions, Iranian scientists have been denied opportunities to publish their findings, attend meetings, and access essential supplies and information.

According to the weekly peer-reviewed medical outlet, such bans are to the detriment of international collaboration and nations' ability to respond to health crises and narrow inequalities.

The current US administration announced sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal in May 2018. Although they are engineered in a way that may appear not to target civilian sectors, in practice US sanctions function as a tool of economic war.

The economic and health impacts of sanctions have been far reaching, extending to the greater West Asia region and affecting research and publishing as well, BMJ Global Health said.

International agencies and institutions mostly shun collaborating with Iranian entities because of the added threat of criminal prosecution by the United States.

Iran, the journal said, ranks 3rd in the world for science and engineering graduates and for tertiary education; 12th in the world for knowledge impact; and 32nd for science and technical publications. As recently as 1996 it ranked first in the world for international collaboration on published research, but in 2017 it was last.

BMJ Global Health cited an increased research output in Iran and a steady growth in scientific innovation, productivity, knowledge impact and patents.   

But the blockade on currency exchange has prevented the payment of fees for publishing open access articles, registration at conferences, and membership of professional organizations, it said.

This has prompted many high impact journals and publishers to refuse to handle research papers from Iran, which in turn stymies academic career development.