Richard W. Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia, is of the opinion that the visits to Italy and France by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are not intended to show “partiality to the West versus the East”.
“It will be no surprise if his future travels include Russia and China,” Murphy tells the Tehran Times.
The relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran has often been referred to as a regional Cold War. Their open hostility significantly increased as a result of the recent execution of Shi’a cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. With this tension in mind, the AIC and Marymount Manhattan College will feature a discussion with Dr. David Ottaway to explore the sources of the conflict and the prospects for reconciliation.
By Bradford Van Arnum, AIC Research Associate
The Iranian presidential election in June of 2013 occurred against the backdrop of not only the issue of the country’s nuclear program, but also of an economy in crisis. The two were, in many ways, inextricably linked; the international sanctions regime at the time was significantly harming the Iranian economy, and unlike previous unilateral action by the United States, these sanctions had done much to block Iran’s access to the global financial system. With the election centered on these twin issues of addressing the nuclear standoff and restoring the economy, an opening was provided for more moderate leadership than that seen under President Ahmadinejad, who had not shied away from confrontation with the United States. Ultimately, it was Hassan Rouhani who won the election on the promise of ending the nuclear impasse and addressing the economic crisis. However, the economic challenges the new administration faced became abundantly clear as soon as Rouhani was inaugurated.
Reviving Iran's Image
The common international image of Iran is that of a backward country supporting terrorism, seeking weapons of mass destruction and violating human rights. This image in turn has fueled anti-Americanism, which has provided one of the pretexts for the political and diplomatic conundrums of the Islamic Republic. However Iran is a historic nation, with rich culture and heritage while United States has been instrumental in building the modern world. This project aims to showcase the true face of the Iranian nation to the international community, including the United States.