On July 7-8, 2010, during an unexpected period of transition for the United States Central Command, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy along with its partners at CENTCOM and the Army Directed Studies Office (ADSO) convened the world’s foremost experts on Iran for an in-depth analysis of global policy towards Iran. While last year’s inaugural conference focused on Iran’s quest for regional preeminence and the country’s tumultuous 2009 elections, this year’s meeting focused on the internal situation in Iran as the starting point of discussion, and then moved on to the topics of converging regional interests and opportunities in the Gulf.
During this second annual partnership, the Saban Center assembled over 150 experts from the policymaking and academic communities to explore the challenges posed by Iran from the perspective of its neighbors in the region, as well as other major international players such as China and Russia. With these discussions as the foundation, the discussion then moved toward generating a unified global Iran policy, with breakout sessions on developing smarter international pressure, prospects for regional cooperation, and new security architectures.
In addition to the discussions generated by the panelists, the Saban Center was pleased to host an array of government officials tasked with overseeing Iran policy: CENTCOM Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. John Allen; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy; and commander of the United States Naval Forces Central Command, Vice Admiral William Gortney – all of whom delivered keynote remarks during the conference.
Iran will no doubt remain one of the foremost U.S. national security concerns in the years ahead. As such, the ongoing partnership between the Saban Center, CENTCOM, & ADSO will continue to provide a unique and vital forum for analyzing the regional and global challenges posed by Iran.