UANI Impact: Canada Bans Government-Funded Research Collaborations With Regime-Affiliated Researchers

(New York, N.Y.) — Canada is ending taxpayer-funded support for research collaborations on technologies that have national security implications with sanctioned Iranian entities after a nearly year-long campaign by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) to expose the depth and breadth of partnerships advancing Tehran’s expertise with potential dual-use technologies. Government grants will no longer be available, beginning this spring, to Canadian researchers seeking to work with counterparts at a dozen Iranian institutions.

Through both private appeals and public pressure, UANI demanded Canadian colleges and universities disavow future partnerships with Iranian entities connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other branches of Iran’s military apparatus. None, however, were willing to do so voluntarily and some were openly resistant.

In an August 2023 column published in National Review, UANI Research Director Daniel Roth highlighted the “hubris that prioritizes academic freedom over Western safety and security.” Such collaborations are particularly troubling in light of reports that Tehran has given the IRGC “maximum” access to Iranian professors, researchers, and students – and, by extension, any of their work with Western academics – to enhance its military and defense capabilities.

The list of Named Research Organizations (NROs) impacted by Canada’s new policy is supplemented by a list of Sensitive Technology Research Areas supporting advanced and emerging technologies that will be restricted. The fields include advanced weapons, advanced energy technology, artificial intelligence, and big data technology. The Canadian ministers responsible for the changes, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Health Minister Mark Holland and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, stated that “both lists will be regularly reviewed to keep pace with the latest developments in research.”

These steps by the Canadian government are an essential step towards adequately addressing the ongoing threat of the Iranian regime to acquire critical expertise in cutting edge military technology development, and other Western governments should follow suit. 

In December 2022, UANI also called on U.S. universities, including Virginia Tech University, University of Washington, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, to cease each of their collaborations with Iranian entities sanctioned by Western governments.

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