6/3 Iran US Talk ASIA SOCIETY $5

Iran and the US: Where Things Stand


3 June 2014
6:30pm – 8:00pm

725 Park Avenue
New York, NY

Asia: Beyond the Headlines
L: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Mojtaba Salimi/Wikimedia Commons). R: U.S. President Barack Obama (National Defense University/Wikimedia Commons).

Even as prospects for a comprehensive nuclear agreement remain uncertain, many believe that the current round of negotiations between Iran and the U.S. offers the best hope in 35 years to achieve détente between the two countries. Mutual distrust between the leadership of the two countries runs deep, and each has its own long list of grievances to point to. Iran is still viewed by many in the U.S. as an inflexible, ideological monolith built on the premise of pervasive hostility to American and Western values, while the U.S. is continues to be seen by many in the Iranian leadership as an imperialist hegemon, hostile to the Islamic revolution and intent on catalyzing regime change in Iran.

The absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries means neither side has a true understanding of the other’s mindset. The Iranian leadership hierarchy, thought process, and decision-making all remain mysterious to most Americans, while many in the Iranian leadership equally do not understand how American politics and decision-making work and point to repeated instances of inconsistency between private and public communications coming from the U.S. government.

Join us as the Asia Society Policy Institute goes beyond the headlines to shed light on the root cause of these misperceptions and missed opportunities, and how the two sides think about each other by facilitating a discussion between two former senior figures in the policy establishment of each country: Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former senior Iranian diplomat and nuclear negotiator, and Gary Sick, an American academic and Iran expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Carter, Ford, and Reagan.


Hossein Mousavian was the Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council from 1997 to 2005 — led then by Iran’s current president. From 2003 to 2005, he served as a spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union. He is currently an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University and has just published a new book titled Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View of the Failed Past and the Road to Peace.

Gary Sick served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan, and was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. Dr. Sick is a Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. He is also Executive Director of the G2K Project at Columbia University, a global online forum for more than 2,000 specialists on issues involving the Persian Gulf.

Hamid Biglari (Moderator) is currently a Managing Partner in TGG Group. From 2000 to 2013, he was a senior executive at Citigroup, most recently as Vice Chairman and Head of Emerging Markets. Prior to that, he was a Partner at McKinsey & Co. and before that, a nuclear physicist at Princeton University. An Iranian-American, he is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Member of the Board of Trustees of Asia Society.