Iranian Elections: Outlook and Impact

Panel Discussion

Iranian Elections: Outlook and Impact

Zoom Webinar

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

In June, Iran will hold Presidential elections for the first time since 2017 along with local and some parliamentary elections. Since that time, the U.S. backed out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that current-President Rouhani staked his career on. Subsequent attacks and retaliations between Iran and the U.S. have caused the wary-at-best relations to deteriorate. With sanctions still crippling Iran’s economy and no clear frontrunner in the election, who will be chosen as the next president and how will that impact Iran’s domestic situation, regional activities, and the revival of nuclear talks?? Tune in on Tuesday, May 18, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM ET for a discussion joined by Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director of the Middle East North Africa Programme at Chatham House, Trita Parsi, Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Tara Kangarlou, Award-winning Journalist and author of “The Heartbeat Of Iran”.

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Sanam Vakil

Sanam Vakil is the deputy director of the Middle East North Africa Programme at Chatham House, where she leads the Future Dynamics in the Gulf project and the Iran Forum.
Sanam’s research focuses regional security, Gulf geopolitics and on future trends in Iran’s domestic and foreign policy.
She follows wider Middle Eastern issues as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, associated with the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.
She is also the James Anderson professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe) in Bologna, Italy.
Before these appointments, Sanam was an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS Washington. She served as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations also providing research analysis to the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa department.
Sanam is the author of Action and Reaction: Women and Politics in Iran (Bloomsbury 2013). She publishes analysis and comments for a variety of media and academic outlets.
Sanam received her BA in political science and history from Barnard College, Columbia University and her MA/PhD in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins University.


Dr. Trita Parsi

Trita Parsi is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press 2007), for which he conducted more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers. Treacherous Alliance is the silver medal winner of the 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.
Parsi’s second book A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press) was released in early 2012 and was selected by Foreign Affairs journal as the Best Book of 2012 on the Middle East. 
His latest book - Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy (Yale University Press, 2017) – reveals the behind the scenes story to the historic nuclear deal with Iran.
Parsi was born in Iran but moved with his family at the age of four to Sweden in order to escape political repression in Iran. His father was an outspoken academic who was jailed by the Shah and then by the Ayatollah. He moved to the United States as an adult and studied foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies where he received his Ph.D. 
He founded NIAC to provide a non-partisan, non-profit organization through which Iranian-Americans could participate in American civic life. NIAC is a vocal proponent of dialogue and engagement between the US and Iran, which Parsi consistently has argued would enhance our national security by helping to stabilize the Middle East and bolster the moderates in Iran.
Parsi has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and extensive experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. He is frequently consulted by Western and Asian governments on foreign policy matters.  Parsi has worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN, where he served in the Security Council, handling the affairs of Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Western Sahara, and in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.
Parsi studied for his Doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations under Professor Francis Fukuyama at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. In addition to his PhD, he holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Uppsala University and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics. He has served as an adjunct professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, George Washington University and Georgetown University, as well as an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute and as a Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC.
He is fluent in Persian/Farsi, English, and Swedish. Parsi’s articles on Middle East affairs have been published in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Nation, The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and others. He is a frequent guest on CNN, PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, the BBC, and Al Jazeera.


Tara Kangarlou

Tara Kangarlou is an award-winning journalist who reports and produces breaking news reports, investigative pieces, and magazine-style print and broadcast stories on both domestic and international issues. Over the years she has reported, written and produced for CNN, CNN International, NBC, Huffington Post, Al Monitor, and Al Jazeera America. She has previously served as a Fellow at the East West Institute and is a frequent on-air contributor on various news outlets worldwide covering international affairs, humanitarian issues, and the Middle East. In her debut book, “The Heartbeat Of Iran” she captures some of the most nuanced and complex realities of life in today’s Iran through intimate and personal stories of everyday Iranians.
In 2015, she led Al Jazeera America’s team with unprecedented access to report and produce from inside Iran during the historic nuclear negotiations between the UN Security Council’s five permanent members. While at CNN, Ms. Kangarlou was involved in covering major domestic and international stories such as the 2013 US Presidential Inauguration, the Boston Marathon bombings, the 2013 Iranian presidential election, Nelson Mandela’s death, and the 2014 Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Over the years she has interviewed many global leaders, heads of states, and senior government officials in the US and around the world. Ms. Kangarlou is an expert on the global refugee crisis, MENA region, and international affairs.
In recent years, she has spent much time in the Syrian border regions of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan reporting and covering issues that impact Syrian refugees, host countries, and the Middle East at large. Ms. Kangarlou has also reported from Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh—the world’s largest refugee camp—covering the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar.
In 2016, having witnessed the horrible plight of war-torn refugees firsthand, Ms. Kangarlou launched  Art of Hope, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on helping Syrian refugees overcome the mental wounds of war and displacement through PTSD treatment, psychosocial support, and trauma-relief programming in the region. She is an outspoken advocate for refugees, war-torn children and ethnically persecuted minorities.
Ms. Kangarlou was born and raised in Tehran, Iran until her late teens. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from USC. She is based in London.

You can order Tara’s lastest book, “The Heartbeat Of Iran” here.



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*Image credit: The New York Times

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