By Kourosh Ziabari
In its path towards becoming a major regional and international player, Iran is achieving remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology which have started to flabbergast the rivals around the world, including the United States, once an economic and scientific leader and the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf region that are years from reaching self-sufficiency in meeting their domestic needs.
Historically, Iran has been known as a cradle of civilization and home to a number of leading scientists and scholars in various fields of knowledge and academic endeavor. Many of the world's prominent scientific accomplishments and discoveries were first brainstormed, proposed and realized in Iran and the international community owes to the Iranian scientists its familiarity and acquaintance with a number of outstanding scientific achievements.
In the contemporary age and since the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979, a growing tendency towards scientific activities and scholarly research began to appear in Iran and the country's scientific developments attracted international attention ever more. Since the victory of Islamic Revolution, a number of high-ranking, prestigious universities were established in Iran and the number of university students increased dramatically. According to the statistics, the number of university students in the year 1978 would not exceed 150,000; however, as of 2009, there are more than 2.5 million students studying in the universities of Iran.
The statistics released by the researchers who investigated Iran's scientific developments over the past 30 years also indicate that the country has seen an unbelievable advancement in terms of producing knowledge and scientific data. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has announced that Iranian scholars and researchers have published a total of 60,979 scientific papers in major international journals during the past 19 years.
Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi Fard, the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Iran has announced that the total number of scientific articles published by the Iranian scientists in the international journals during the first 50 days of the current Iranian year (starting March 21, 2010) outnumbers the total scientific articles published in Iran over the years leading up to the Islamic Revolution.
Iran's advancements in science and technology have been so notable and outstanding that even the most hostile enemies of the Islamic Republic have admitted the country's prominent position as a scientific hub in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region.
In terms of motor vehicle production and nationalized automobile industry, the statistic of the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers indicate that Iran is currently the 12th largest automaker in the world, surpassing powerful economic and industrial powers such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Russia and Australia. This simply shows that Iran is currently the largest automaker among 57 Islamic countries.
In terms of aeronautic capabilities, Iran is among the world's 9 countries which are scientifically capable of placing satellites into orbit and have the independent capacity to produce the necessary launching vehicle for it. Powerful economies such as Germany, Canada, Italy and Australia are not among these 9 countries.
In terms of scientific knowledge production, Iran has made dazzling breakthroughs in the recent years and in some cases, surpassed its most powerful rivals to the surprise of international community.
According to Ja'far Mehrad, the President of the Islamic World Science Citation Center, Iran is among the world's top 25 countries in term of science production. According to Mehrad, Iran qualified to the 22nd rank in the year 2009 and surpassed countries such as Scotland, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Mexico and Norway and snatched the first berth among the Islamic countries in term of scientific papers published in the international journals.
As to the production of medicines and drugs for the chronic diseases, Iran ranks the first among the Middle Eastern countries, the Minister of Health and Medical Education says.
Overall, Iran is currently competing with the world's most powerful countries in terms of scientific activities and is not far from becoming an incontestable scientific hub in Asia.
Iran's nuclear program is in line with the country's long-term objectives for becoming a scientific superpower in the world and this is what the Western countries cannot tolerate. Nuclear energy is the only arena in which the bullying powers can employ political leverages to pressure an independent nation such as Iran to hinder its scientific progress. If Iran achieves the complete cycle of nuclear energy production, it can meet its needs in electricity, medicine and agriculture and then will be needless of Western states, so this self-sufficiency will be harmful to the long-run interests of the West and that's why they try restlessly to prevent Iran from fulfilling its nuclear program.
However and so forth, the world should accept that Iran is a new scientific power which has the capability to stand on its own feet and even help the other independent nations of the world in their scientific projects. Nuclear energy, Information and Communication Technology, nanotechnology and all of these areas of scientific endeavor are today dominated by the Iranian researchers and scientists and nobody can put a barricade on this path toward progression and supremacy.
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist and media correspondent. His articles and interviews haveappeared on a number of media outlets and news websites including Tehran Times, Press TV, Global Research and Foreign Policy Journal and Opinion Maker