HJS VIRTUAL EVENT: “Brian H. Hook & The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP: In Transatlantic Conversation on Iran”

Start: Thursday, June 04, 2020 5:00 PM

End: Thursday, June 04, 2020 6:00 PM

It is easy to forget this now, but at the start of 2020, the biggest flashpoint for many international policy-makers was not a global pandemic in the making, but the vexed question of how to handle Iran.

When US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 supported by the Obama administration – citing its many flaws and a desire to renegotiate it to make it stronger and permanent – his European fellow signatories refused to follow suit. Their attempts to keep it alive were however fatally undermined by Iran’s flagrant violations of the agreement, which finally forced its dispute resolution mechanism into process this year.

At the same time, the Middle East was brought to the brink of conflict by Iran’s aggressions, which necessitated the dramatic US targeting of Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s chief terrorist puppeteer. With the US making clear that any serious Iranian reprisals would be met by escalation, Tehran backed down. The regime was of course not helped by its shooting down of a civilian airliner in its own airspace, which re-ignited serious social unrest from ordinary Iranians desperate to be free of the incompetence and strictures of their state.

Covid-19 may have interrupted the usual flow of Middle East affairs, but it has not disrupted them completely, as demonstrated by naval flashpoints last month. So with the US policy of “Maximum Pressure” continuing, what is next in store for global Iran policy? Will the US approach work, with Iran deciding that regime survival is worth finally abandoning its nuclear and neighbourhood ambitions for good or is renewed conflict likely? And are the Europeans finally ready to concede that JCPOA is dead and join the US in seeking a better resolution?

In order to explore the possibilities, HJS is delighted to welcome Brian H. Hook, US Special Representative for Iran & Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, former UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Mr Hunt will lead a conversation with Mr Hook, following which both participants will participate in a Q&A session.