Science Magazine reports in its lastest edition that a court in The Hague has dealt a blow to the Dutch government’s controversial policy, enacted in 2008, to ban Iranian-born students and scientists from certain master’s degrees and from nuclear research facilities in the Netherlands:

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has joined the student’s cause, calling the policy “indefensible” and harmful to the reputation of Dutch science.

In its verdict the court agreed that “preventing Iran from obtaining certain types of technologies is legitimate, but said that there is “no objective and reasonable justification” for targeting all Iranians, and Iranians only. Doing so is a violation of article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a U.N. treaty that has been in force since 1976, the court says “to protect its nuclear secrets, the government should use other measures, such as individual screening.”

The Dutch ministries of Science and foreign affairs are still “studying” the verdict, and have yet to decide whether to appeal.