Panel Discussion @ Asia Society – The Iran Challenge: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy

Text by Asia Society

Schoolgirls wave Iranian flags as they mark the start of 10 days of celebrations for the anniversary of the Islamic revolution at the Behesht-e Zahra (Zahra’s Paradise) cemetery in southern Tehran on Feb. 1, 2010. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011
Time: 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Venue: Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, New York)
Ticket: $10

In the midst of international diplomacy over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, the US and its allies are intensifying sanctions against the country. The aftermath of Iran’s disputed 2009 election and growing violations of human rights are adding fuel to the fire, resulting in deeper hostilities with the outside world than at any time since the revolution’s early days. The stakes—and consequences—are greater than ever.

Join us as the Asia Society and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) convene a panel of leading experts to explore the defining forces in Iran today and the future of US-Iran relations. Is Iran moving towards a “military dictatorship?” What is the status of the opposition movement? Is Iran’s economy on the precipice of collapsing? Are the sanctions working? Is a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue possible? Is the “military option” still on the table? What are the big decisions facing the Obama administration in the coming year and beyond?

The event will feature contributors to The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and US Policy, a new publication providing a comprehensive overview by 50 top experts—both Western and Iranian—examining Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. The Iran Primer, which is edited by Robin Wright and co-published by USIP and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will be available for purchase and signing at the event. It also is available as a free download at and for sale at


Suzanne DiMaggio is the Vice President of Global Policy Programs at Asia Society, where she leads the Iran Initiative. From 2002-07, she directed a US-Iran track II dialogue while she was Vice President of the United Nations Association of the USA.

Kevan Harris recently spent one year in Iran researching the Iranian economy. He created and writes The Thirsty Fish blog.

Alireza Nader is co-author of Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics and is a preeminent expert on the Iranian military and the Revolutionary Guard.

Gary Sick served on the National Security Council under US Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan and was the principal aide for Iran during the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis. He is a professor at Columbia University.

Robin Wright, a former Washington Post diplomatic correspondent, has covered Iran since 1973 and is the author of five books on Iran or the Middle East. She is a joint fellow at USIP and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

6:00-6:30 pm: Registration
6:30-8:00 pm: Panel Discussion/Audience Q & A
8:00-8:30 pm: Reception and book signing