Iran in the International System Between Great Powers and Great Ideas

30  January 2020    7:00 pm CET

Book presentation and discussion

In cooperation with:


International Insitute for Peace (IIP), Möllwaldplatz 5/2, 1040 Vienna


Hannes Swoboda, president of the IIP and former MEP
Stephanie Fenkart, director at the IIP

Introduction in Farsi/English
Mitra Shahmoradi, artist, painter and poet. Main editor of Iran in the International System
Bert Fragner, researcher, professor of Iranian studies, Austrian Orient Society

Heinz Gärtner, researcher and political scientist, IIP and University of Vienna. Main editor of Iran in the International System
Erzsébet N. Rózsa, researcherand university lecturer, Hungarian Institute of International Affairs/Institute for World Economics
Mahdi Ghodsi, economist at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
Mher D. Sahakyan, researcher and university lecturer, China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia

Karin Kneissl, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, expert on the Middle East

Marylia Hushcha, research assistant at the IIP

Pejman Parsmehr playing Santur

The year 2020 has started with another upward spiral of tensions in the Middle East. On January 3rd, high ranking Iranian military official Ghassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq. In few days, on January 8th, Iran responded, firing its missiles at Iraqi military bases hosting US troops. While no human losses were sustained there, a tragic incident that occurred on the same day when Iran mistakenly shot down a passenger plane heading from Tehran to Kyiv, claimed 176 lives. This prompted a new wave of anti-government demonstrations in Tehran, with police using tear gas against the demonstrators.

The protests in Iran and the military escalation between Tehran and Washington are a sad culmination of the gradual deterioration of US-Iranian relations, following President Trump’s withdrawal in 2018 from the Joint and Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA was concluded between Iran and six powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, and USA) in 2015, aiming to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in order to prevent any possibility for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon. In exchange, decades-long economic sanctions against Iran were lifted, enabling new opportunities for international trade and the restoration of the country's crippled economy. The US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and reinstate the sanctions against Iran gave a severe blow to the whole agreement. Efforts by other signatories of the deal to deliver on what was promised to Iran (for example, via INSTEX trade mechanism created by the EU) did not bring the desired outcome. As a result, Iran has gradually abandoned its commitments under the JCPOA, announcing in January that it will no longer abide the uranium enrichment restrictions set in the JCPOA.

Cover "Iran in the International System" (Routledge, 2020)

The newly published book Iran in the International System: Between Great Powers and Great Ideas (Routledge 2020) address the events that led to the current crisis in the Middle East. It looks at Iran's relations with major power starting from the 1979 Iranian Revolution that had seen Islamic clerics come to power in the country. Featuring six contributing authors of the book, the discussion will cover Iran's relations with the United States, Russia, China, and the EU as well as Iran's economic situation. The trends observed in Iran's relations with teh world over the last four decades are directly linked to the recent developments in the region and will be thus analyzed by the panelists and the invited discussant. In addition, a societal and historical perspective on Iran will be offered by Iranians themselves as well as European Iran experts. The audience will also have an opportunity to experience Iranian culture and tradition through visual, musical an culinary arts.

The Discussion will be held in English.
The IIP invites to snacks and drinks after the event.

The International Insitute for Peace (IPP) in cooperation with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and the Austrian Orient Society.

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