Public Release: 

Special edition: Science in Iran

American Association for the Advancement of Science

This news release is available in Japanese.

A special news edition, Science in Iran, looks closely at the scientific challenges and triumphs of a country that has faced international isolation in recent years. Following an exclusive interview about the Iran nuclear deal with Ali Akbar Salehi, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Science International News Editor Richard Stone delves further into the state of Iran's scientific endeavors. Decades of economic sanctions have deprived Iranian scientists of critical scientific resources and collaboration. Despite these crippling limitations from the external world - and funding shortages internally - they have persevered. Whether by generating intellectual ideas or using homespun ingenuity to create their own resources from scratch, Iranian scientists have made remarkable achievements. In light of the Iran deal that would, if implemented, ease international restrictions, this science that has been happening in the dark may soon be accessible to all. In a story rich with previously untold details, Stone provides fascinating insights into the science that has persisted in Iran in lieu of the sanctions, and the exciting potential of what's to come in a more reciprocal environment.

In a second story, Stone takes readers through Iran's long process to reclaim some of its past astronomical glory, in the form of the Iranian National Observatory (INO), a world-class optical telescope with a 3.4 meter (11-foot) mirror. The concept for the observatory began in the 1980s - but war, political turmoil and limited funds have taken turns interfering with the construction. But it seems the stars are finally aligning for the INO, which is now slated for construction in the spring of 2016. Soon, the INO could be in use, hunting for dark matter and probing the intricacies of galaxy formation.

A final piece focuses on Iran's dying great salt lake, which is rapidly retreating to expose a salt desert that is generating noxious dust, and threatening crops and people. Much of the Lake Urmia's demise can be attributed to water management, where the three rivers that supply nearly 90% of the water flowing into Urmia have been dammed for irrigation and hydropower. An estimated 40,000 illegal wells around the lake's basin compound the problem. Hoping to save Lake Urmia, the Iranian government has launched its biggest environmental project ever. This special news package is complemented by an editorial from Mohammad Farhadi, Iran's Minister of Science, highlighting Iran's readiness to grow its international scientific collaborations and embark on a new era of international interaction.

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Note: This special news package will be available for free when the embargo lifts at http://www.sciencemag.org.

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