EghtesadOnline: With countries moving ahead with schemes to commercialize space and countries like the US mulling the idea of establishing a space military force, Iranian authorities are endeavoring to advance scientific research in the field and get a better grasp of international space law.
The Iranian Space Agency has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Tehran's Institute for Studies in Public Law last week, as per which specialists on space law are to be trained so as to increase Iran's role in international assemblies and secure national interests, the agency's website reported.
Head of the ISA Morteza Barari said space is unclaimed by any nation, therefore it is of paramount importance for the country to actively participate in gatherings on space law to make sure Iran does not suffer from a lack of representation.
According to Financial Tribune, he added, "Considering the capacity of Iran's top universities, we can train professionals who can have an influence in space-related international assemblies."
Pointing to ISA's membership in various international committees, Barari stressed the necessity of developing infrastructures in the sector, noting that "the University of Tehran was chosen as the agency's partner in expanding research and knowledge on space law due to its status as one of the leading educational institutions in the country."
ISA was established in 2004 and is a member of the United Nation's Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Barari elaborated on the objectives of the agreement, saying it will try to create interest among students in majors related to international space law and draw up plans that will help educate specialists.
Moreover, the partnership will identify the advantages and weaknesses of the general attitude in Iran toward international space diplomacy and frame policies in accordance with the objective of securing and promoting national interests and creating circumstances conducive to promotion of scientific research in the sector.
To that end, the agreement stipulates that the ISA is to offer scholarships to students who choose to work on space law.
Head of the University of Tehran's Institute for Studies in Public Law, Abbasali Kadkhodaei, said he has identified two issues that have hindered Iran's progress in this field.
Kadkhodaei said Iran does not have enough specialists educated in the field to uphold the country's national interests in the field.
He added, "Moreover, US [scientific] sanctions against Iran are not confined to studies in nuclear power, they have also thrown obstacles in the way of our students seeking to continue their studies on space in foreign countries as well."
On top of the agreement, the agency has come up with more ways to rectify the situation.
Kadkhodaie said they have held workshops on space law, which have been met with overwhelming enthusiasm on the part of students and specialists. The enthusiasm had led the agency to take the initial steps to pave the way for the establishment of a university major dedicated to space law.
Furthermore, the agency has held moot courts that resemble courts with cases on space law in order to engage students with the type of atmosphere they might have to deal with one day.
ISA is not the only national agency active in the field which is moving ahead with plans to boost its activities. Last week, head of the Iranian Space Research Center Hossein Samimi attended a meeting with professors of Sharif University of Technology with a specialty in the aerospace sector to discuss research projects.