Saturday, June 16, 2007

The American Chemical Society (ACS) reinstates Iranian members - well almost

Just a few months back ACS had dropped 36 Iranian members from its fold. ACS has now reversed its decision after protests from its members and other organizations. However, these Iranian members still cannot enjoy full member benefits.

From Science (May 18, 2007):
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has reinstated 36 Iranian members dumped in January because of the U.S. trade embargo. But ACS will continue to withhold certain member benefits until it obtains a government license.

Although U.S. organizations are prohibited from doing business with anybody in Iran, Cuba, or North Korea, an exemption enables U.S. scholarly societies to have members in those countries. But late last year, ACS officials decided that the full range of membership benefits--which includes discounted journal subscriptions, career counseling, meeting invitations, and insurance--crossed the line.

That ruling drew protest from scores of ACS members. And ACS Executive Director Madeleine Jacobs says she was not part of the decision. "I learned about the move from Science," she says (Science, 30 March, p. 1777). Last week, the society reversed its decision. But it could be months before ACS obtains a license that would enable it to provide Iranian members with discounted meeting registrations and career-development services.

Curious, that the Executive Director of ACS was not consulted nor informed about a decision with definite political overtones. ACS has now reversed its decisions and lets hope now that they restore full benefits to Iranian members soon.

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