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The Twenty Second IPIS Conference on Persian Gulf and West Asia

The Twenty Second IPIS Conference on Persian Gulf and West Asia

On October 23, 2017, the Institute for Political and International Studies hosted the 22nd International Conference on the Persian Gulf. Eminent domestic and foreign scholars in the field of issues related to the Persian Gulf were in attendance. The meeting started by Dr. Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour opening remarks to the participants and invited them to share their opinions in the spirit current situation in the Persian Gulf and continued by Dr. MandanaTisheyarsecretaryof seminar from AllamehTabataba’iUniversity,as she emphasized restoring peace and security to it in light of all the fast unfolding developments in this transition period. In the first panel, participants Abdulreza Assiri, YasarYakis, Mohammad Farazmand, and KayhanBarzegar shared their views with their peers. They clarified the role of GCC, Iran, Turkey and regional cooperation aimed principally at settling disputes and combating extremism. Following them, Hosam AlMatar, Fatima Alsamadi, Hamad Albloshi, Afif Dala, Galip Dalay, and Hamed Alabdullah addressed the conference. They touched upon issues such as the crises in Arab states, the importance of the JCPOA to the GCC, the establishment of cultural centers in Arab countries, the formation of a coherent Arab-Iranian perception of one another, the significance of Iran’s role in addressing the Syrian crisis and in fighting ISIS - Daesh, cooperation among Persian Gulf countries aimed at creating peace and encouraging collaboration in the region, soft diplomacy, avoiding paying lip-service to peace, and maintaining regional security. Later, in the second panel, BitteHammargren of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs raised a critical subject; that Iran, along with the other players in this part of the world, had to have a strategy for peace in the region.Dr. SaidehLotfian, professor of International relations at the University of Tehran, reiterated the need for strengthening democracy, for disarmament, and for development in the region. Werner Fasslabend, president of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, commented on the factors behind the emergence of Daesh. Among those factors, he mentioned the Arab Spring i.e. the popular uprisings against Arab rulers, the rise in sectarianism, the influx of weapons into the region, foreign interference, and the non-integration of the Sunni populations in the eastern parts of Syria and the western parts of Iraq. He also broached an important subject to do with the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria which he said would be possible with help from those two countries’ neighbors and other regional governments. Abdullah Altamimi, a former member of the Kuwaiti parliament, mainly spoke of wars of attrition in the region. According to him, the United States and NATO have been involved in those wars either through issuing threats or through their weapons sales. Ibrahim Shaghir of Damascus University said the West wreaked havoc on Syria and Iraq and seeks to spread its dominance over the region.Hasan Unal of Turkey’s AtilimUniversity highlighted the importance of regional cooperation. Mohammad Kabtoolehof Damascus University said that the west must not be allowed to enter the region on the pretext of reconstructing Iraq and Syria.Additionally, MateSzalai, a research fellow at the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade said that regional unity and economic cooperation were essential since they led to a settlement of disputes.

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