Iran in the Context of Shifting Global and Regional Realities

Iran in the Context of Shifting Global and Regional Realities

24-25 May 2008 - Tehran, Iran

Session Description


Session 1


The international backdrop is one of consequential developments indicating transformations in state-to state relation, the geopolitical system, the dynamics of global governance, and economic power centers. This panel will debate subjects such as the forthcoming presidential elections in the US and in Iran: will their respective outcomes harden antagonisms or augur new possibilities for convergence?At the same time, the inauguration of Medvedev as Russia’s new president leads us to ask whether Russia will continue to be run as it was under its predecessor. The emergence of China as an economic power-house suggests a growing strategic reliance on Iran for energy and a possibility for a strengthened strategic-economic alliance.What would be the ramifications of such a partnership in the international political arena? In Europe, we have the new creation of a de-facto Foreign Minister of the European Union under the Treaty of Lisbon suggesting that Europe will talk with one voice. This begs the question whether Europe’s strategy toward Iran will change or whether it will continue to prod along the path paved by the global hugemon. How will the prevailing political and economic conditions alter in view of these shifts, and how will Iran– given its geo-strategic location, socio-cultural-political influences, and vast energy resources–feature in the new political and economic backdrop. This panel will explore these questions in an attempt to achieve clarity and structure in Iran’s relations with the world at large, and to explore it strategic significance in the global arena in the context of shifts and transformations.

CENTRAL THEMES

1- Between confrontation and engagement: can Iran and the US narrow the divide?
2- Iranian-Russian relations: continuity or change?
3- China’s relations with Iran: energy reliance.
4- Europe-Iran relations: perceptions,priorties andpotentials.
5- Iran’s power, influence and resouces.

Session 2


Gas shortage and the management of the gas resources have become one of the most pressing political and economic debates in Iran.It is naturally expected that a country with the second largest gas reserver in the world would be able to fulfil unable to meet domestic requirements.High domestic requirements.High domestic consumption raises the question of whether Iran should concerntrate on gas export,especially in view of the negotiations for Iranian gas export,especially in view of the negotiations for Iranian gas expot by pipeline to the Indian subcontinent and to Europe,and Gas export in the form of LNG, which is being pursued by the national Iranian Gas Export Company.Should Iran focus on exporting gas or should it dedicate its gas resources for domestic its gas resources for domestic use,injection into the oil fields and creating value added from its use in petrochemical and gas based industries.However, the government has a long-term strategy: it envisages in the 20-year economic outlook makes Iran a
major player in the global gas market.The share Iran would be able to secure;the pricing policy Iran would pursue; and Irans future cooperation with other gas-producing countries and the challenges that lie ahead.

CENTRAL THEMES

1.Iran’s gas storage:causes and solutions.
2.Iran’s gas priorities:export verses consumption.
3.Gas injection in existing oil fields and petro-chemical and gas-based industries.
4.The future of LNG transportation Gas-Opec?

Session 3


Climate change is a major challenge confronting mankind.Its importance at the international level is to the extentthat the issue has been placed on the agenda of the UN General Assembly at the levels of Heads of States and Government, and the Security Council so that the UN 2007/2008 Human Development Report was devoted to “Fighting Climate Change in a Divided World”. In particular the focus has been on the vulnerability of the developing and the least developed countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. Iran and most countries in the Middle East and North Africa are located in the region of arid and semi-arid climates, which are prone to, but not limited to, drought desertification, deforestation and flood; while suffering from the lack of sufficient fresh water resources, which affect food security, human health and environmental quality. In addition, most of these countries, as oil and gas producing nations, are economically vulnerable to the adverse effects of response measures taken by developed countries.

CENTRAL THEMES

1- Vulnerability of the region to climate change (agriculture and food security, drought, water resources, desertification, coastal zones, forestry and biodiversity and human health).
2- Adaptation to the adverse effects of unavoidable climate change.
3- Measures to mitigate climate change by reduction of green house gas emissions.
4- Economic implications of the global climate change policies in the energy sector of the region.
5- The need for experience sharing, exchange of information and implementing joint programs.
7- Innovation and technology transfer.

Session 4


The landscape of Iran’s immediate region is one of upheaval and transformation. In this setting Iran is positioned in a pivotal axis,The political configuration and reconstruction of Iraq are yet to be determined as are its security features.In Pakistan,the ongoing threat and proliferation of extremist elements seriously compromises the security of neighbouring countries that are bracing themselves for the emerging bulwark of terrorism.Afganistan also risks failing as a nation in the face of deteriorating international support,a growing insugency,and the reconstitution of extremist groups.Lebanon is still striving for its democratic future.Turkey’s role is the in regional political arena is still ambigous as it deals with potential separatist challenges in Iraq. Sectarian discord and shifting regional alliances place the entire region in a traditional phase in which key players struggle to determine their respective roles and responsibilities. This panel explores the affects of regional instability,and aims
to find prospects for the local solution spearheaded nad guided by regional actors.At the forefront of this inquiry is Iran’s role in the geopolitical matrix characterized by both challenges and vast opportunities for a understanding, recognition,partnership, and a unified strategy, where interests, concers nad anxities are unraveled, assessed and given a realistic perspective for resolution.

CENTRAL THEMES

1.Iraq: its future outlook, American presence, and Iran’s role.
2. Iran’s position in the regional balnace of power equation nad its political calculus.
3.Extremism in Pakistan and threats to regional security.
4.Afganistan:heading towards stsbility or strife?
5.National disunity in Lebanon nad prospects for political reconstruction.
6.Challenges to Turkey’s role in the region.