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Visiting Iranian officials seek to enhance scientific exchange with UC botanists

– High-level Iranian officials made a rare visit to the University and Jepson Herbaria earlier this week, seeking to augment ongoing scholarly collaboration with UC Berkeley scientists and students.

 Iranian diplomat looks at map, showing sites of past collaborative botanizing
On a map of his nation, Iranian official Mostafa Rahmani spots sites of recent collaborative research by Iranian and UC botanists, as Dr. Foisee Tahbaz and Dr. Abolfazi Mehrabadi look on. (Cathy Cockrell photo)

"Politics is going to fluctuate, but science is something that is not going to change with the president," said Dr. Mostafa Rahmani, director of the Islamic Republic of Iran's office at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, D.C. "We need to invest for what is more permanent… "Animosity is not going to go away," he added, unless "these two great countries" enhance their interaction in peaceful arenas.

Herbaria Director Brent Mishler hopes, with assistance from Iran, to kick-start a collaborative scientific project on threats to biodiversity from development and global warming. "Biodiversity transcends politics," he said at a meeting featuring Persian-style tea and ping-pong diplomacy, in Farsi and English. The project will build on past work of the American-Iranian Botanical Program, coordinated by Dr. Fosiee Tahbaz, a University of Tehran professor emeritus affiliated with the herbaria.

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