Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council issued the following statement regarding the decision of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (“ECFMG”) to suspend the processing of requests to verify educational credentials of Iranian physicians seeking to study or work in the United States:
We have received a number of inquiries relating to the ECFMG decision and are deeply concerned by this development and its impact on Iranians and Iranian Americans. NIAC is urgently working to foster a resolution to this pressing issue. Until this situation is resolved, Iranian doctors cannot take exams, seek residency, or practice medicine in the U.S.
NIAC is seeking an explanation from ECFMG as to the specific basis for its decision and conducting outreach to the U.S. State Department and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) to resolve the issue. NIAC urges U.S. authorities to provide quick guidance to ECFMG so as to permit it to continue processing such requests.
NIAC looks forward to an expeditious and satisfactory resolution of this situation. We note, however, that so long as the comprehensive U.S. trade embargo with Iran remains in effect, problems like these will continue to arise for Iranians and Iranian Americans.
ECFMG is a private non-profit organization that certifies and evaluates the qualifications of international medical graduates entering the U.S. to provide medical services. ECFMG performs this role by “verify[ing] the authenticity of credentials related to physicians’ medical education, training, and registration/licensure directly with the institutions that issued the credentials.” For physicians from Iran, this means contacting and interacting with Iranian educational and medical institutions to authenticate physicians’ credentials.
Due to apparent concerns over the permissibility of such interactions under U.S. law, ECFMG has suspended “processing requests to verify credentials issued by institutions in Iran,” until such time as U.S. regulatory authorities provide guidance as to the legality of its interactions with Iranian institutions.
This has created significant problems for Iranian physicians seeking to authenticate their credentials so as to practice medicine in the United States. This problem is compounded by the fact that the Medical Council of Canada (“MCC”) utilizes ECFMG to verify the credentials of Iranian physicians; and, as a result, MCC has also suspended processing requests to verify Iranian physicians’ credentials from Iranian institutions as of last month.