Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council (NIAC) welcomes the resumption of services for Iranian physicians by the the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the primary organization that verifies educational credentials for Iranian physicians seeking to practice in the U.S. and Canada.
Following ECFMG’s suspension of services or Iranians due to sanctions concerns, NIAC was in contact with ECFMG, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to urge a speedy resolution.
We are pleased that ECFMG received assurances necessary from OFAC to resume processing the credentials of Iranian physicians. This decision will mean that Iranians seeking to practice medicine will be able to take exams and seek residency in the U.S. after a week of uncertainty. Time was of the essence in resolving this issue as the application period for exams and applications for residency is nearing. We hope that the temporary delay did not cause any long lasting harm to those who were affected.
While we are pleased that the situation is resolved, problems such as this will continue to occur so long as broad sanctions remain in place on Iran. Situations like this happen far too often, in which sanctions – or the concerns by private institutions that they may be violating the myriad sanctions – disenfranchise ordinary Iranians. This not only hurts the wrong people, it sends a negative message to Iranians who simply want to engage the U.S. in the most positive ways, such as the practice of medicine. This undermines not just the foreign and domestic policy goals of the United States, but the virtues of our country. We look forward to the day when broad sanctions are lifted and the many unintended consequences of these sanctions are eliminated.
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