Reasoned Restrictions

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THE SPINE OCTOBER 26, 2006

Reasoned Restrictions

Horrors! Deep in the proposal given to Russia and China by the United States for the sanctions resolution against Iran in the UN Security Council lies one controversial provision. It would restrict Iranian students at universities abroad from studying nuclear physics. And maybe it would extend to physics, generally, and to mathematics. But maybe not.

The argument is so predictable. The Chinese and Russians don't really want to press Iran too hard. But here's a point I heard from an intelligent American today at lunch. "This provision would violate the civil liberties of Iranian students abroad." Hey, maybe so. Why don't we start a special fellowship program in big physics especially for smart young men and women from Iran and North Korea at Los Alamos? Just like the one we never thought about for brilliant young scientists from Japan and Germany during World War II.

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