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President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries could hamper bioscience research, according to Hakim Djaballah, a biotech consultant in New York.

Djaballah, who works in the fields of aging, infectious disease, and oncology, is on the board of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, and he’s concerned that mounting tensions between the US and countries affected by the 90-day ban — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — might impede scientific progress. Here’s what he had to say, edited for clarity:


What does the biotech sector look like in Iran?

I’m from Algeria, but I was in Iran a couple of years ago — and I was very impressed with the Iranian scientific community. They’ve been frustrated with all of the economic embargoes, but have been able to do a lot of good work. It’s a fairly free society — so I was actually shocked in contrast with what I hear and see on CNN. They’re open-minded, very educated, and there are a lot of scientists.

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