This month, the peer-reviewed Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal released its latest issue, an event normally of little interest to laypeople. The volume featured a seemingly anodyne article entitled, “Evaluation of Road Safety Based on Geometric Design Consistency Using Smart Phone GPS.” But upon closer inspection, one of its authors stood out: The piece was co-written by Shahriar Afandizadeh Zargari, Reza Jalalkamali, and … Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad—the notorious homophobe, anti-Semite, Holocaust denier, 9/11 truther, and former president of Iran widely thought to have employed electoral fraud in his reelection bid—was credited merely as “a faculty member of Iran University of Science and Technology” whose “research interest focuses on road and transportation” with “20 years of experience in this field.” Ahmadinejad does indeed possess a doctorate in civil engineering.
Soon after the article appeared in print, however, it disappeared from the journal’s web site entirely. I reached out to ITE’s executive director, Jeffrey Paniati, and he explained what had transpired. “The article has been retracted from our electronic edition of the publication pending review by the ITE Board of Directors,” he said. “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s affiliation with the government of Iran was not identified when the article was submitted and the ITE leadership is reviewing our policies and procedures with regard to review and acceptance of articles for the ITE Journal. It will be a number of months before this review is completed.”
The retraction of Ahmadinejad’s piece comes amidst somewhat similar occurrences in professional settings in the United States, where individuals who marched in the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville have returned home only to be fired by their employers. Many seem increasingly unwilling to be involved with those who espouse hateful views, whether the person is a member of the alt-right or the former head of an oppressive regime.