AAPG is an international professional and scientific organization, and many of our members live internationally and work on some of the most interesting geology spanning every continent.
AAPG is also a U.S. corporation, and as such must comply with U.S. regulations on all matters of business such as tax, personnel law and even publications. This recently came to light over several manuscripts that were submitted for the BULLETIN.
A number of U.S. laws have been passed and regulations issued since 2004 that deal with this issue, and in fact do allow for the publication of scholarly works published by Iranians and on the subject of Iran. AAPG has consulted with experts in this area of the law as well as the U.S. Treasury department who administers the process to gain guidance.
However, one of those regulations, which was issued in December 2004, provides a caveat that “parties to the transaction” can not include the government of Iran or any of its branches.
It is obviously up to AAPG and its legal advisers to make the best interpretations and decisions on this, and up to now we have had to reject two publications – not on technical merit nor on political grounds, but based on our interpretation of U.S. laws and regulations, and our intention to comply with them.
As Iran is a major petroleum province – and an understanding of its geology has much to offer to the science of petroleum geology – we feel it important to continue to pursue clarification of what AAPG may and may not publish in this regard. Additionally, U.S. laws and regulations also place restrictions on our ability to publish in connection with other international regions.
As of this writing we are attempting to meet with U.S. government representatives in Washington, D.C., on this very issue. As we gain additional information we will pass it along.