Options on Iran: Policy Approaches and Regional Security

February 21, 2008

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The January 6 incident between U.S. warships and Iranian patrol ships in the Strait of Hormuz reminded the world yet again that Iran continues to pose a serious foreign-policy challenge to the United States, the UN Security Council, and Iran's neighbors in the Middle East. Although December's National Intelligence Estimate suggested that Iran is no longer pursuing nuclear weapons, many diplomats and analysts remain wary of Iran's controversial nuclear program, its support for terrorism, and its growing influence in the region. And as efforts continue at the UN to craft a new, tough resolution on Iran, Iranian President Ahmedinejad's popularity is dropping amidst growing speculation about a possible leadership change in the 2009 Iranian presidential elections. 

Please join a distinguished panel of Iran experts for a timely discussion of the policy options, political challenges, and security concerns confronting the U.S. and its partners in their relations with Iran.

Barbara Slavin is the senior diplomatic reporter for USA Today.  Author of the new book Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, she is a regular commentator on NPR, PBS, and C-Span. Over her long career she has written and worked for The Economist, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and United Press International. She earned her B.A. from Harvard University.

Ilan Berman is vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council.  An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. His writings have appeared in such publications as the National Interest, International Herald Tribune, and Financial Times. Mr. Berman holds a Master's in International Politics from the American University and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law.

Michael Jacobson is a senior fellow in The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He served in the Treasury Department and as counsel with the Congressional September 11 investigation, participating in the team that assessed the FBI's performance. Previously, he worked for the FBI as assistant general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. Mr. Jacobson earned his B.A. at Brandeis University, master's at Tufts University, and J.D. at Boston College Law School.

Michael R. Kraig is director of policy analysis and dialogue at the Stanley Foundation, where he has organized several global policy dialogues between diplomats and policymakers on arms control and disarmament. He has also implemented major foundation projects on U.S. security strategy, Persian Gulf security, and U.S.-Iranian relations. Previously, he worked as a writer and editor for the Arms Control Reporter, and his articles have appeared in such publications as Middle East Policy and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University at Buffalo, New York.
 
Recorded Thursday, February 21, 2008 at InterContinental Hotel.