Samira Asgari was due to take up a research position at the lab of Soumya Raychaudhuri, associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
However, she was told she wouldn’t be able to board her flight because she holds an Iranian passport — Iran is one of seven Muslim-majority countries whose passport-holders are banned from entering the U.S. following President Donald Trump‘s executive order.
Asgari’s LinkedIn profile states that she is a computational biologist, and was most recently a post-doctoral researcher at the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
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She is one of many academics who will now be unable to study, work or carry out research in the United States under Trump’s ban on people holding Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Somali, Sudanese and Yemeni passports.
In Baghdad, Bayan Adil, a doctor working in the Iraqi Health Ministry who applied for a U.S. visa to attend a medical seminar, said Iraqi academics should visit Europe instead of the United States, where they were no longer welcome.
“Trump’s decision is unfortunately a humiliating insult not only for us as academics but for all Iraqis,” she said.
Her comments were echoed by Abd Al-Jafar, a 43-year-old university professor in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, who said he had sought to go to the United States for doctoral studies.
“This decision, if implemented, will be a disaster,” he said. “I have work in Sudan and have no desire to emigrate to the U.S., just to study there. This decision is illogical.”
— With files from Reuters