Iran News ...


9/22/03

"IEEE Under Fire for Withdrawing Iranian Members' Benefits"

Source: Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA)
www.sharifuniversity.net
PO BOX 12391, LA JOLLA, CA 920039
IEEE-UPDATE
SEP 19, 2003


1- Science Journal today published a very informative article about IEEE entitled:

"IEEE Under Fire for Withdrawing Iranian Members' Benefits"

The report is written by Owen Gaffney (owengaffney@hotmail.com), who had a meeting with us two weeks ago at Cambridge, UK. It contains a very interesting internal memo of IEEE that shows the extent of their concern of the "uproar" their policy has created. The article says: "With the containment strategy having gone busted, it will be up to IEEE's rank-and-file to decide whether to support the policy itself."

2- In our response to Dr. Lightner's letter, see below, we thanked him for his expressed opposition to the restrictions, for his promise to work with other scientific organizations to change the law if the exemption they requested from US Government is not granted, and for his offer to cooperate with SUTA in solving this problem.

3- We have been informed that the IEEE will publish a public statement in the October issue of IEEE-Spectrum, apparently in response to our letter. Spectrum has also asked us to send a rebuttal that they would publish it in their November issue.
As earlier reported The IEEE-Institute will also publish our letter to IEEE in its October issue.

4- Our colleagues from Tehran University & Fanni association have also been active in this campaign, by sending letters to IEEE and asking IEEE members for support.

5- Many of our associates and friends have written to IEEE regarding these restrictions, among them Prof. Reza who wrote:

"Nations' rules and regulations are subject to changes but science and humanity in the long run must prevail, and this must be the legacy that we as scientists leave for future generations.
I trust that the request of SUT will receive your just and due consideration beyond regional and national frontiers."

6- IEEE ELECTION

A- IEEE President-Elect:
Although we don't fully agree with Dr. Lightner's position regarding the imposed restrictions and believe that these are not US Governments' rules but the interpretations by IEEE that can be changed, still we believe that Dr. Lightner is a better choice than Dr. Cleon Anderson, the other candidate for this position, who wrote to us:

"You too must be aware that the problem with Iran is not of IEEE's making. The events of September 11, 2001, have changed many of the relationships between the countries throughout the world.

"...the Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) statement that "To the best of our knowledge such restrictive and unfair policies and practices" HAVE NOT YET been "adopted by other scientific societies and institutions operating in the US" is a fact that IEEE cannot use as part of its argument."

B- IEEE-USA President-Elect:
Dr. Gerard Alphonse is a candidate for IEEE-USA President-Elect. From all candidates, Dr. Alphonse understands our concerns best. He wrote to us:

"I feel that dues-paying IEEE members should have access to all their rights. I sympathize with your views and concerns, and I have so expressed to one of my dear colleagues who is from Iran and is a Past-Chair of the IEEE Long Island Section. I believe that the publications restrictions imposed on Members from Iran are unfair.

I have been told many times that the IEEE is obeying the laws of the United States in order to maintain its status as a not-for-profit organization, etc.  I suspect that the IEEE could have better served its members by adopting a wait-and-see attitude instead of being proactive about those restrictive laws.  This would have avoided the disenfranchising of many of our overseas members."

We recommend that Iranian members of IEEE vote for Dr. Lightner for IEEE President-Elect and for Dr. Alphonse for IEEE-USA President-Elect.

Regards,
Fredun Hojabri
SUTA- President




Letter to Dr. Lightner

Dear Mike:

I am thankful that you responded to our questions and have expressed your opposition to the regulations limiting open scientific and engineering communication, and participation of the global scientific community. I am also pleased that you emphasize that as president of the IEEE you would work with other scientific organizations to change the law, or see that restrictions are waived to accomplish the goals and mission of the IEEE.

An open question to you is why the IEEE repeatedly claims that "The ban on editing scientific papers", "Not allowing the use of IEEE logo by the student chapters in Iran", and "Not promoting its Iranian members" are OFAC's rulings and that changing them is breaking the law for which the IEEE would have to pay heavy fines.

We believe that these restrictions are in fact the IEEE's interpretations and not the OFAC's rulings, or the intention of the US Congress when they passed the trade sanctions against certain countries including Iran. Changing the interpretations is not breaking the law, for which you have to pay heavy fines.

As one of the candidates for the IEEE election writes: "The IEEE could have better served its members by adopting, like other scientific organizations, a wait-and-see attitude, instead of being proactive about those restrictive laws."

Your letter was distributed to all our members, colleagues of Sharif University of Technology, Engineering Faculty of Tehran University, and University of Shiraz. Probably most of our IEEE members will vote for you.

I wish you success in the election for IEEE President-Elect and welcome your offer of cooperation.

With best regards,

Fredun


Related Article:

Letter from Sharif University of Technology Association to IEEE President questions membership restrictions







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