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A top-notch research center that brought together Iran, Israel and other Mideast antagonists is launching operations this fall in hopes of boosting scientific discovery and opening a window to a better future for a region beset by war, boycotts and closed borders.Perhaps even more threatening were chronic funding shortages, said Khaled Toukan, the Jordanian director of the project, known by its acronym, SESAME.Israel's Science Ministry reported a growing interest in the project among Israeli scientists.Egyptian physicist Gihan Kamel, 41, said she hopes SESAME will open doors for women in science.CERN dwarfs SESAME in many ways, including with a particle accelerator that at 27 kilometers is more than 200 times longer than the one in Jordan.Toukan said that things got heated a few times when regional conflicts intruded.Arab member stations persuaded the Palestinians to hold off in order not to endanger the project, Toukan said.More bumps are likely, but Toukan said he believes SESAME can no longer be derailed.
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