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Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; Jaw Jaw or War War ? Assessing the threats and opportunities

September 17, 2018 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Liberal International British Group Policy Liberal Democrat Conference Fringe Meeting

The 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement (the JCPOA) involving Russia, China and European allies, was President Obama's major diplomatic achievement. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, under President Trump, despite IAEA reports of full Iranian compliance, has interrupted the rapprochement and the new commercial deals with Iran which had been well under way as a result. Not only Russia and China, but also European countries have scrambled to try and keep the JCPOA alive, but under pressure from the US have had to pull back from closer relations and business deals with Iran.

In July 2018 President Trump declared that new US sanctions aim to force countries to abandon Iranian oil imports, from November 2018, adding that Saudi Arabia had committed to increase oil production to compensate. The Trump administration has listed 12 very general conditions for sanctions removal, structured so that they are very unlikely to be met without regime change or war.

President Trump cited two reasons for new US sanctions and withdrawal from the JCPOA. First, that Iran has a concealed nuclear weaponsisation programme undiscovered by the IAEA, and second that a developing arc of Iranian influence spanning several countries and territories from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean via the Arabian peninsula, was not only omitted from the JCPOA negotiations but that the JCPOA actually helped facilitate it.

This LIBG Forum is intended to shed light on these developments and assess Iranian political responses, the likelihood of a military conflict, and the best UK and EU approach to the JCPOA in the future.

Speakers include:

Nazenin Ansari is managing editor of Kayhan London. She was a London correspondent for Voice of America's Persian News Network until July 2009. She was also president (2007-2009) and vice president (2009-2012) of the Foreign Press Association in London. She is a member of Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and sits on the Board of Trustees of Encyclopædia Iranica. Nazenin co-edited the Foreign Policy Centre's Iran Human Rights Review: She has been a contributor to BBC World's Dateline London and BBC News24 as well as BBC Radio 4, Sky News and Al-Jazeera TV channels.

Dr Bahram Ghiassee is a Principal Associate at 'Global Security and Disaster Management (GSDM)' , and a visiting academic in International Environmental Law and International Nuclear Law at University of Surrey, UK. Bahram is a member of the 'World Institute for Nuclear Security ' (Vienna) and the 'International Nuclear Law Association' (Brussels). He is also a chartered member of the UK Nuclear Institute , and recipient of the Institute's Pinkerton Prize (2011). His recent publications include 'Nuclear Security - Transcending the Policy Objectives of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime (2017)' and 'Update on the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) under the Trump Administration (2018)' .

Paul Reynolds , has worked adviser on international relations and economics worldwide for more than 25 years, frequently on behalf of UN system organisations. His experience in the Mid East and Central Asia includes Chief Political Adviser to Coalition Forces in Iraq, adviser to the UK Government in Afghanistan, and adviser on reforms in the GCC, in Jordan and in Kuwait. Paul was first in Iran in 1983. In 2011 Paul undertook a review of US policy in the Mid East and the Horn of Africa, in Washington DC. Paul has also worked as an adviser to Chinese and Russian government institutions. He is a member of the Executive of LIBG and a member of the UK Lib Dems' Federal International Relations Committee.