Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari made the comment while criticizing some figures about the brain drain in Iran and the migration of the elite from the country.
“We are trying to base the country’s economy on manpower. Accordingly, [it is noteworthy that] more than 130 Iranian students studying at 100 top universities around the world returned home in the four months to August, 2019, and it is estimated that more than a thousand such individuals will return home by late March, 2020,” the vice president told ISNA.
He said the fact that some elite Iranian students are studying abroad should be regarded as “brain circulation,” not brain drain.
“Only 50,000 out of 4 million Iranian students are studying abroad,” he said, adding the figure amounts to 1.1 percent of the whole Iranian students while the global average for the percentage of students in other countries studying overseas is 3 percent.
“More than 30 percent of students of Arab countries in the region are studying abroad,” he added.
He further denied statistics allegedly published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which put Iran in the first rank in 2009 as far as brain drain is concerned.
“These statistics have been published while there is no such report at all,” he said.
Sattari then said around 12,000 Iranian students are currently studying in the United States.
“On websites, there are some statistics about the migration of elite individuals. I’m not a pessimistic person, but wrong figures are published in this regard with certain intentions,” he added.
The official also said 25 percent of the Iranian students who have returned from abroad have been employed at universities as faculty members or at other scientific circles.
“The remaining 75 percent either began to work at companies or started their own business by establishing start-ups or knowledge-based companies,” he said.