Iran: The Stem Cell Fatwa
In 2002, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei created a “stem cell fatwa” declaring experimentation with human embryonic stem cells consistent with Shiite Islam and encouraging scientists to advance the technology to save lives.
Through embryonic stem-cell science, and other work being done at the Royan Institute in Tehran (the country’s premiere science center), Iran is once again becoming a leader in the scientific world. It’s a throwback to 1700 years ago, when the Persian Empire was the center of the scientific universe.
In 2005, Iranian scientists implanted human embryonic stem cells into paralyzed rats and released results that the rats were able to walk again. A year later, they cloned a sheep. And now, similar to research being done in the West, they are trying to find safe ways to transform adult cells into embryonic cells.