Doing science with Iran

Iran has transformed from a magnificent empire to a global pariah in just 2500 years. The news is replete with stories of fatwas, stoning, kidnappings, repression, and the nuclear program. The United Nations Security Council has sanctions on Iran for enriching uranium, and the US Department of the Treasury has imposed restrictions on sponsoring conferences in Iran and on publishing scientific papers from Iran. Although sanctions are important for diplomacy and containment, so is outreach. I argue that engaging Iranian scientists through collaboration and conferences within Iran is morally right and strategically advantageous, and I share my own conference-organizing experiences in Iran to support this assertion.