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Blocked Entry

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins apologized Friday for two Iranian researchers being blocked from the agency's campus, the Washington Post reports.

According to an earlier report from the Post, NIH is requiring visitors to disclose their citizenship upon entry. It says that one of the blocked researchers was there to give a presentation as part of a job interview, and while he was first delayed at security, he was able to then continue on, but to only be escorted from NIH campus before giving his talk. The other researcher, the Post reports, was told to leave, made to fill out numerous forms, and was then allowed to give his presentation because of an "exception."

In an email, Collins says security staff mishandled the visitor clearance process and that a Department of Health and Human Service policy regarding visitors from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism has not been well communicated or always followed by NIH, according to the Post.

The Post adds that researchers at NIH, as well as researchers outside the agency, have criticized the policy. "The policy itself affects the entire scientific community," David Jentsch, a neuroscientist at Binghamton University, tells the Post.