Iran’s Impressive Ravand Institute Conference


Unfortunately, I did not receive a visa in time to participate as a speaker in the 3rd Annual Ravand Institute Conference in Tehran this year. I was invited along with Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution, Michael Kraig of the Stanley Foundation, and Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group. Up until the very last minute, we thought the Iranian Government might issue the visas that the Ravand Institute for Economic and International Studies had requested.
But given how the US government manages visa of visiting intellectuals, scientists, business people, and cultural leaders from non-visa waiver countries, I can hardly complain.
Though I wasn’t at this gathering, I have now heard from other participants that this meeting was superb substantively and in terms of the regional personalities who attended. While Ahmad Chalabi (not one of my favorite people) was on one of the panels, the other participants were top rate.
The U.S. and Iranian governments should get out of the way of these kinds of events and conferences taking place. There should be more of them.
The American and Iranian governments are trying to establish rigid cartels in the intellectual arena, playing the role of gatekeepers in the flow of information and knowledge, and this is not helpful in sorting out current tensions and moving beyond them.
I admire what former Iranian Ambassador to the UK S.M. Hossein Adeli has done with Ravand and hope that he and the institution find a way to post the key nuggets of the conference or video clips on the internet next time around. That will promote some exchange and make the visa idiocy in America and Iran less of a block to policy dialogue.

— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Iran’s Impressive Ravand Institute Conference

  1. Amir says:

    I think u can still participate the meeting via tele-conference or things like that, why don’t try??


  2. Don Bacon says:

    I note that Shell and Total were platinum supporters of this conference — so much for Iran being isolated from the world community, as the US claims.
    Perhaps we could learn why this conference was impressive and substantive? And I’m sorry that Steve was excluded. Their loss.


  3. TonyForesta says:

    I am no defender of Iran, but simple logic would compel intelligent sentient beings encourage their respective leaders to accept and engage in these types of exchanges for the good of every of everyone.
    Any step forward in diminishing tension and blind hostilities, and toward advancing any kind of common ground is a positive development that both the US, Iranian, and all governments should welcome.
    The same kind of conferences should be encouraged between Venezuelan, Cuban, Russian, Chinese, and US “intellectuals, scientists, business people, and cultural leaders”, and artists.
    War is the quickest, least intelligent, and most costly and bloody solution to resolving conflicts. Opening some kind of dialogue and intellectual exchanges between nations is the best hope and option for defusing the tensions and blind hostilities that lead to war.


  4. rollingmyeyes says:

    Congress must assert itself. No war without a Congressional declaration of war. This is a Constitional issue. Where is Ron Paul when we need him? Can we get some hands across the party divide?


  5. Mr.Murder says:

    As for Iran, when the hostage crisis was in its throes, IBM held its Asian multinational marketing HQ in said country, around the corner from the embassy.
    Our difference do not outweigh what we share.
    Let’s try and develop additional dialog on these business interests.


  6. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, this is OT from the important Iran piece you’re doing, but David Iglesias made a sterling appearance on CSpan’s Washington Journal today today.
    This blog could give him some of the attention he deserves. His service to America in varied capacities has been stellar, his departure from DoJ and the events surrounding how it happened are incredibly alarming.
    From his service as a JAG to his service as prosecutor, he’s a stellar republican minority interview. The man should be a rising star on the political map as well, and his book should deserve publicity as well.
    Please make an effort to include his views at The Washington Note.


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