Iran, as pointed out by many involved in this briefing, is complicated. Internal political rivalries, regional meddling and an equivocating foreign policy – these factors come together as a tangled web of political machinations. However, Friends of Europe’s roundtable discussion revealed that the motives and mindset behind Iran’s actions are often simple, underwritten by a sense of pragmatism or a lack of viable options.
Taking place at the same time as the ongoing indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna, the timely briefing placed heavy emphasis on the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as US President Biden takes steps to enter back into the nuclear deal abandoned by his predecessor.
Topics up for debate were not limited to the Iran nuclear deal, with speakers and participants also speculating and commenting on Iran’s upcoming presidential elections, its actions as a regional player, the foreign policy implications of Iran’s oscillation between the East and West, and the role of Iran in the Western Balkans.
To download the outcomes of this working group meeting please click under the date of the event on the top right part of the page.
In the waning months of the Obama administration, the United States, alongside Russia, China, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Although the EU served as moderator for and is a strong proponent of the Iran nuclear deal, Trump’s subsequent withdrawal in 2018 saw the divergence of EU and US policy. With the return of US sanctions, Iran lost faith in the deal. However, the Biden administration has begun a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran for the return to a nuclear deal. The latest talks in Vienna have offered a path forward, with both Iran and the US working through EU intermediaries to reset to their agreed JCPOA conditions. Officials have noted that Iran is now only months, or perhaps even weeks, away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon. A recent suspected Israeli cyberattack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility has flared tempers at a time when the stakes for foreign relations are higher than ever.
At this key time, our briefing will bring together experts and decision-makers from across the public-private divide for a frank and open discussion on the latest developments on Iran.
The event is part of our Security briefing series. In each 60-minute session, members have a chance to put their questions to those who call the shots. Participation is by invitation-only.
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Journalist and 2017 MENA Young Leader (EYL40)
Analyst at the Balkan Investigative and Reporting Network (BIRN)
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defense at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Negar Mortazavi is an Iranian-American journalist and columnist, who exclusively covers stories about Iran in both English and Persian. She is also the host of the Iran Podcast and a frequent commentator on Iranian affairs at MSNBC, BBC, PRI, The New York Times, Aljazeera, HuffPost and international outlets across the world, including Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and Japan. Mortazavi previously worked as a TV presenter at Voice of America (VOA) Persian, where she hosted a daily hour-long interactive show that discussed current affairs with Iranians across the world.
As a former correspondent and later editor and Sarajevo bureau chief at Associated Press, Srecko Latal covered conflict in the Balkans, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan, throughout the 1990s. Since 2000, he has worked as an advisor for the European Union and the World Bank, while continuing to write for regional and international media and analytical organisations, including the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Balkan Investigative and Reporting Network (BIRN), Oxford Analytica and Janes Defence. An expert on Iran’s influence in the Western Balkans, Latal is also researcher at the “Western Balkans at the Crossroads: Assessing Influences of Non-Western External Actors” project.
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