Of all the interventions the United States has attempted in the last decade to contain Iran, one of the most successful is perhaps the least known of them all.
It came in 2012, when Barack Obama’s state department began easing restrictions on student visas for Iranians. By 2015, half of all visas issued to citizens of the seven countries affected by Trump’s travel ban went to Iranian nationals, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tuition fees for US academic centers. Iran’s top academic and artistic talents flocked to America, in numbers unprecedented since 1979.
It is this quiet victory that Donald Trump’s executive order threatens to undo.
The Guardian, February 11, 2017