Iran on Monday awarded a top prize in the study of science and technology to two U.S.-educated scientists.
Vice President Sourena Sattari granted the Mustafa award to five scientists, three Iranians and two Turks, during a ceremony.
Among the recipients was UCLA professor Ali Khademhosseini, for his work on the application of nanostructures in the treatment of disease. Umran Inan, a Turkish professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, also received the prize.
Upon granting the awards, Sattari stressed that Iran’s achievements came from investing in its young people and not only from its oil revenue.
It was the third award ceremony for the biennial prize since 2015. Iran launched the prize as part of its goal to become a regional scientific powerhouse.
This year’s prize comes against the backdrop of U.S. sanctions on Tehran and Iran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.
Khademhosseini told The Associated Press he hopes the sanctions will be removed to pave the ground for scientific cooperation.
“Clearly sanctions made things more difficult,” said Khademhossenin.” That’s something that hopefully over time we can overcome.”
The science and technology $500,000 prize is awarded to Muslim researchers and scientists, regardless of whether they live in Muslim-majority nations or elsewhere, as well as non-Muslim scientists in Muslim countries.
In 2017, the Turkish-French national, Sami Erol Gelenbe, and Iran’s Mohammad Amin Shokrollahi, were honored for their achievements in systems assessment in model-making and computer coding.
Iran first handed out the prize in 2015 to a Taiwanese-Singaporean nanotechnology researcher Jackie Y. Ying and Jordanian-American chemistry professor Omar Yaghi.