Iran – The Muslim world’s crown jewel for scientific advancement

The lichen collection at IROST.

WHAT would you do if you are invited to Iran for a scientific conference?
Succumb to the bad press and negative media propaganda that the country has been plastered with and reject the invitation? Not to mention the rumours that your USA visa will become null and void after visiting Iran?

I am not one to fear this.

I have visited many countries in the “hotspot” list – all in the name of science communication, biotechnology and biosafety.

I first visited Iran in 2011 for the International Conference on Biosafety, then declined the second invitation in 2016 due to conflicting travel plans and this year made my second trip to this Muslim republic.

I just knew with my Iranian colleague Dr Behzad Ghareyazie, a prominent scientist who was the first to introduce GM rice to the world, I will be in safe hands.

Prior to the trip, I carefully chose my clothes for a week long-sleeves, long tops, pants and not to forget headscarves. Women in Iran, including visitors, must adhere to Islamic dress code. It gave me an opportunity to use my scarves stylishly to cover my head, so I am not complaining.