In late 2003, the Iranian government and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Seyyed Khamenei publicly congratulated Iranian scientists from the Fertility Research Centre, an affiliate of the University Jihad Institute, on their success in creating human embryonic stem cells. In a country where religious laws and culture—often viewed as barriers to innovation and human rights—are a pillar in the government structure, this public display and attention to such a controversial topic among the religious and government institutions of many Western countries, like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, seemed surprising. However, current stem cell research and regenerative medicine efforts in Iran combined with the country’s past successes in this field of study illustrate that Iran’s government, along with its religious ...

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