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Following the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran, there was widespread optimism that Iran would develop into a peaceful and constructive member of the international system. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a significant development, as it brings the nuclear issue under international scrutiny and control. At the same time, actions from Iran, both historically and more recently, continue to contribute to instability in the Middle East. While Iran has maintained its commitments under the nuclear deal, leaders in Iran continue to espouse a foreign policy that confronts U.S. friends and allies and supports both governments and militant organizations that challenge U.S. interests and disrupt peace and security in the region. At the same time, the U.S. and Iran have found a common enemy in Iraq, with Secretary of State John Kerry recently conceding that Iran has been “in certain ways helpful” in the fight against ISIL-Daesh, and Iran has begun to forge new relationships in the international economy. Undoubtedly engagement with Iran is necessary for bringing peace and security to the Middle East region. This engagement needs to involve key states in the region and incorporate their views and perspectives regarding Iran’s potential for both contributing to security and fomenting insecurity in the region.
WHAT: This panel considered where Iran’s contributions continue to fall short and where there may be cause for optimism in what is undoubtedly a new era in relations with this controversial actor.
Ahmed Al Hamli, President and Founder, TRENDS
Brian Finlay, President and CEO, Stimson Center
Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr., Chairman, Stimson Center
Richard Burchill (Moderator), Director of Research & Engagement, TRENDS
Laicie Heeley, Fellow, Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense, Stimson Center
David Albright, President and Founder, Institute for Science and International Security
Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, IISS-Americas
Image courtesy of Ninara via Flickr