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World Affairs Council and ECU Great Decision Series Feb 27, 2010 Jalil Roshandel, Associate Professor Director of Security Studies East Carolina University.

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Presentation on theme: "World Affairs Council and ECU Great Decision Series Feb 27, 2010 Jalil Roshandel, Associate Professor Director of Security Studies East Carolina University."— Presentation transcript:


2 World Affairs Council and ECU Great Decision Series Feb 27, 2010 Jalil Roshandel, Associate Professor Director of Security Studies East Carolina University

3  Shifting From polarization to:  Support allies,  Engagement, direct diplomacy and renewal of global alliances –where possible  Promote freedoms  Change image  Isolate adversary 2

4  Iran,  Iraq,  Saudi Arabia,  Bahrain,  Kuwait,  Oman,  Qatar,  United Arab Emirates(UAE) 3 Iraq

5  Persians (includes several sub-groups)  Azeris  Turks  Kurds  Armenians  Arabs: (Language or ethnicity? Is there only one type?)  Arabs (Saudis, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE etc).  Yemeni Arab  Marsh Arab (Tigris and Euphrates river valley (Iraq) 4

6  Muslims: two major and several smaller sub groups:  Sunni, (Wahabbis considered Sunnis),  Shi’a,  But, also Ismailis, Yezidis, Alavites Zoroastrians, Baha'is, Jews and Christians 5

7  With a nomadic past and centuries of colonial intervention, the memory of people is saturated with attempts to occupy and dominate by:  -Portuguese,  -Germans  -French  -The British  -Tsarist and Soviet Russians  -and now the imperial superpower Americans who are not even good occupiers. 6

8 7 28% of world oil production And nearly 60% of world petroleum reserves Oil, Water, and Waterway

9 8 266.7 136.2 115 104 97.8 15.2 Saudi Arabia Iran Iraq Kuwait UAE Qatar Source Energy Information Administration

10  In 2000-2001 roughly 15.4 million barrels per day of oil in tankers moved through the Strait of Hormuz to Japan, U.S., and Western Europe.  This was long before China or India became major consumer of oil.  Today, Iran’s oil is a major component of this huge traffic.  As of January 2009 with an estimate 136.2 billion barrels oil reserve (#10%) of the world’s total proven petroleum, Iran’s daily export to Asian and Western European countries is about 2.4 million barrels per day.  This makes Iran the fourth largest exporter in the world. 9

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13 12  Iraq: mission incomplete.

14  Good relation with the US and the West, but also  Best financial resources for Taliban, Al-Qaida and terrorist groups.  Pragmatism in oil and security  Radicalism in promoting an extremist version of Islam: Wahhabism. 13

15  Iran pre-1979  Iraq after 2003  Iraq occupation resulted in: Collapse of regional balance of power.  Sectarian violence  Rising Shi’a Power  Iran’s influence  Iran’s emergence as a regional power  All of the above against US foreign policy goals 14

16  Iran emerged as a regional strong power with no enemies  The Algiers accord of 1975 broken and  Iran-Iraq are in a state of ceasefire since 1988  The circumstance led Iran toward military, then civilian goals in nuclear technology,  It is not guaranteed it will stop there 15

17  Low Enriched Uranium for  Nuclear reactor?  Nuclear Weapons?  New sites to produce 20% enriched Uranium  Domestic Factors  International Actors:  US, EU, Israel  Russia  China 16

18  Iran says it is willing to swap its low-enriched uranium for more highly processed nuclear fuel, but the exchange must happen on Iranian territory.  In its first formal response to a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian government made the offer in a document released on Feb 23, 2010.  Previously, IAEA had proposed Iran to ship its uranium abroad to be processed into fuel for an Iranian nuclear research reactor. 17

19  Domestic  Civil Society Movement  Territorial integrity (Kurdistan and now Balouchistan... (Rigi captured – Iran accuses Obama Administration:  Regional  Relation with Iraq and Afghanistan  US military presence  Conflict and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, Syria and Lebanon  Is a war with Israel imminent?  International  Nuclear controversy,  How to secure friends in UN Security Council? 18

20  For regional players: a major concern over 500 years.  For the US and EU: a major concern for at least since 1970s.  Colonial and imperial powers dominated for several centuries.  United States–tries to maintain stability thanks to naval superiority and an alliance with certain regional states. (Dr. Lawrence Potter) 19

21  Persian Gulf Security is a major component of International security,  The US concern to prevent any country from gaining control of the Persian Gulf area has always played a major role in US-Middle relations.  The impact on Iran’s long term goals in the region. 20

22  The most important part of the shipping lanes goes through the Straits of Hormuz. Iran controls the three strategic islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which in fact could be used to “choke” the traffic.  In a new regional security configuration, UAE claims to the islands receives support from most Arab states, as well as from US, but... 21

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24  Regime’s support from the people is in decline, opposition is getting more strength.  A significant help from outside can further push it to the slippery slope.  This reality frightens the system, a regime security guarantee would be what the radicals like Khamenei might be looking for before they accept any commitment for better relations. 23

25  Iran does not really seem very enthusiastic about opening up contacts with United States; the outcome of an unrestricted relation could be more harmful to the Islamic Republic of Iran, though extremely useful for the people of Iran.  There has been no single opportunity that the clerical leadership has missed to talk against the relation with the United States. 24

26  “While the interests of the regional states and the US in the Gulf sometimes converge and sometimes diverge, the constantly changing political constellation offers many opportunities for cooperation and the containment of potential conflict.”  In this volatile circumstance “much still depends on Iranian willingness to follow through with its latest commitments.” 25

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28  Though/smart sanction; US support for Israel; the war with Iraq or Afghanistan, US military presence in the Persian Gulf have all been the usual context to reject better relations.  Why the clerical leadership does not want to re- establish its ties with the Ue?  Thw more fundamental and antagonistic differences between the nature of the two political systems: Theocracy and Democracy  The fear of regime security cannot be surmounted. 27

29 Thank You 28

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