HealthManagement, Volume 16 - Issue 2, 2016

Radiology in Iran – Coming Out of Sanctions

An Overview


The Iranian Society of Radiology (ISR ) is the largest in the ‏Middle East and Levant region, with the only other country ‏with more radiologists in this area being Turkey. Presently, ‏there are about 2,400 radiologists practicing in Iran – the ‏Iranian society was founded in 1966 and is now one the ‏largest and best organised medical associations in the ‏country.


Currently, there are 17 radiology training programmes ‏running all over the country with around 150 residents graduating ‏every year. Radiology training is a four-year residency ‏programme, being a highly competitive choice for medical ‏students and there are about 200 academic radiologists all ‏over the country.


The main area of preference in the practice of radiology ‏is still “general radiology” but there is a growing demand ‏and interest for sub-specialty imaging services. Solo radiology ‏practice is the predominant form of establishing and ‏running radiology centres in the country, but group practices ‏with about five to ten radiologists is a growing trend, ‏thus allowing for the provision of subspecialty services to be ‏tailored to national needs.


The majority of Iranian radiologists dedicate themselves to ‏general radiology and run imaging centres employing X-ray, ‏ultrasound, mammography and dental imaging equipment. ‏Only a minority of imaging centres – which are usually ‏owned and run by groups of radiologists – use cross-sectional ‏imaging equipment.


Annual congresses of radiology and refresher courses play ‏a major role in post-graduate training, which is a significant ‏ongoing demand, considering the rapid developments taking ‏place internationally in the field of radiology. This makes Iran’s ‏annual congress of radiology, which is the largest in the region ‏and held every May, a bridge that connects the Iranian radiological ‏community with modern medical imaging worldwide.

Impact From Sanctions


Although sanctions against Iran have had a devastating effect ‏on medical imaging, currently the situation is changing and ‏the radiology community is hopeful that it will face better ‏conditions ahead. As Iran is a great regional market for ‏vendors, when the removal of sanctions relieve this action, ‏major companies will get access to the largest potential ‏market for radiological equipment in the whole region.


We could say that one of the “positive impacts” that the ‏sanctions had on the Iranian radiology sector was the introduction ‏of picture archive communication systems (PA CS) in ‏medical imaging technology, as well as the practice of filmless ‏or ‘less film’ radiology. Because of the limited availability ‏of films, PA CS installation and CD/DVD image distribution ‏was adopted very rapidly during the sanction period. ‏Of course, the market leaders of PACS and imaging informatics ‏solutions are mostly local vendors and the market ‏is still very much promising for reasonable internationally ‏approved products in this field.


Looking Ahead

Teleradiology is becoming more and more popular in Iran ‏and a growing number of radiologists and clinicians view ‏the medical images retrieved remotely as an ideal solution, ‏despite the lack of nationally-approved rules and regulations ‏for teleradiology practice in the country.

Hybrid imaging is a missing sector altogether in the Iranian ‏radiology arena. There are only a handful of PET /CT installations ‏in the country which is clearly far less than what we ‏actually need. The biggest obstacle in the availability of hybrid ‏imaging equipment has been the sanctions that have been ‏imposed on Iran that prevented the free import of machines ‏and equipment into the country.


Regional Cooperation


The Iranian radiological community has a very good relationship ‏with the regional and international communities. ‏There are a number of ongoing agreements and protocols ‏of cooperation between the Iranian Society of Radiology and ‏all neighbouring countries including Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan ‏and Afghanistan. Also, Iran is playing a leading role in the ‏establishment of a regional radiological community under the ‏banner of the Eurasian Radiology Initiative. Iran is a founding ‏and key driver in this exciting project that aims to cover ‏regional collaboration between 34 countries. Iran will host ‏the first Eurasian Congress of Radiology at Kish Island later ‏this year.


End of Sanctions. What Next?


The imposition of sanctions on Iran has made any scientific ‏collaboration with international radiological communities ‏extremely difficult. Inviting and including guest scientists at ‏meetings or events hosted by departments of radiology were ‏hampered by political issues. Also, the participation of Iranian ‏scientists in international radiology events has been limited ‏due to the restricting barriers in securing a visa. Hopefully, ‏after the removal of the sanctions, the scientific collaboration ‏with the international community will be restored and ‏will even expand. All international speakers who visited the ‏country during the past decade have expressed their surprise ‏that, “Iran is much better than what we see in the media!”




Iranian Society of Radiology (ISR ) -

Eurasian Radiology Initiative -


Key Points

• Iran has 2,400 practicing radiologists, the second largest community in the Middle East.

• Around 150 radiologists graduate each year.

• Playing a leading role in the establishment of the regional Eurasian Radiology Initiative.

• Sanctions have prevented the free import of machines and equipment.

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Radiology in Iran – Coming Out of Sanctions, PACS, imaging, ultrasound, mammography, dental imaging, Eurasian Radiology Initiative Radiology in Iran – Coming Out of Sanctions, leaders of PACS and imaging informatics ‏solutions are mostly local vendors and the market ‏is very promising

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