Relations with Iran – A new era from 2021?
About the Event:
In this joint event with the Defence & Security Forum, our panellists will discuss the future for Iran and the outlook for new relations between the country and the West. In 2015, Iran concluded an agreement with the governments of the USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China that would result in the lifting of sanctions on Iran but place strict limits on its nuclear program. The agreement in 2015, known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA), was abandoned by the US administration of President Trump in 2018 and more sanctions were imposed on Iran. Tensions in the relationships between Iran and Western countries remain, but there is a renewed positive outlook that the incoming US administration of President Biden may restart negotiations. Iran faces major challenges, with its economy impacted by sanctions as well as the coronavirus pandemic. The avoidance of future conflict in the Middle East may depend upon a renewal of the agreement between Iran and the major world powers.
Our guests will discuss the outlook for Iran and its relations with other countries as well as the nature of change in the country. They all have extraordinary insight into the politics, culture, religion and outlook of Iran.
About the Panellists:
Dr Sanam Vakil is Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, as well as the Project Director, Future Dynamics of the Gulf Middle East & North Africa Programme. She follows wider Middle Eastern issues as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, associated with the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. She is also the James Anderson professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe) in Bologna, Italy. Before these appointments, Sanam was an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS Washington. She served as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations also providing research analysis to the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa department. Sanam is the author of Action and Reaction: Women and Politics in Iran (Bloomsbury 2013). She publishes analysis and comments for a variety of media and academic outlets.
Dr Ayatullah Seyed Salman Safavi is a distinguished philosopher and scholar of Islamic sciences from Seminary of Qum, and BA, MA in philosophy from Tehran-Iran and PhD and Post Doctorate from SOAS-University of London. His PhD thesis was on ‘The Structure of Book One of Rumi’s Mathnawi as a book for love and peace’.
Dr Safavi was a research fellow at the University of London 2000-2011. He was Research deputy of Islamic Centre of England and Director of Institute of Islamic Studies-London 1997-2003. Director of London Academy of Iranian Studies since 2003 and editor in chief of the “Transcendent Philosophy Journal” (www.iranianstudies.org) which has been published in London since 2000. He is also the Director of International Peace Studies Centre (IPSC), (http://peace-ipsc.org ) since 2010. He is also the international relation supreme adviser of the “World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools” (Majm’a Jahani Taqrib Madhahib Islami) since April 2013.
Dr Safavi has published 50 books on International Relations, Islamic Studies, comparative philosophy and Sufism. He is chief editor of “Political Encyclopedia of the Islamic Revolution of Iran (1979-2010)”. Filed Studies: international relations and Islamic studies. A long time activist for the cause of peace and diplomacy, he is a strong advocate for in the development of Iran-West relations. A stark opponent of WMD, Ayatollah Safavi is also an expert on current Iranian issues.
Dr. Mehrdad Khonsari completed his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University, his Masters at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and his PhD at LSE. He began his internship at the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1968 and served in Tehran, Washington and the UN in New York. His formal diplomatic career began in 1972, with subsequent postings to the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, member of the Secretariat of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in 1977 to the Iranian Embassy in London where he also became a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Following the Iranian Revolution, Dr. Khonsari ended his diplomatic career by resigning from the Iranian Foreign Ministry. From 1979-1984, Dr. Khonsari worked as a Consultant in International Affairs for the Saudi Arabian multinational business organization, the ‘Shobokshi Group’ whilst serving as the Managing Director of the UK based Middle Eastern Charitable Trust, the ‘Avicenna Foundation’ (which was later transformed into the ‘Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies’ where Mehrdad Khonsari was ‘Senior Research Fellow’). Since 1991, he has been an adviser with numerous organisations promoting reconciliation and economic reconstruction in Iran. Dr. Khonsari is a Senior Consultant and a founding member of the Iranian Centre for Policy Studies established in France in 2017.