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CIC National Capital (Ottawa): Reconciliation: Internal and External? An Armchair Conversation with Sir Richard Dalton (Online event)
March 21 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm EDTFree
Join the CIC National Capital Branch’s Middle East Study Group at this armchair discussion with distinguished former British diplomat, Sir Richard Dalton, regarding the challenges and opportunities for reconciliation with the people of Iran.
Will the enduring ideals of Iranians, and rising discontent open the country to democracy and a ruling system that can reconcile to itself a higher number of the citizenry than has ever been achieved in the decades since 1990? Continuity, before and after the departure of the current Supreme leader, is more likely than a change in Iran’s political system. Forecasting is impossible, but seven scenarios can be weighted by probability. Under any of the scenarios, there would be winners and losers. We shall not see a South African style reconciliation of opponents and enemies, and universal acceptance of a new dispensation. Violence will probably be close to the surface, and sometimes above it. Just as there are two strands in unresolved tension in the internal life of Iran – traditional values including Islam and modernization, so are there two strands in tension in current Iranian foreign relations: diplomacy and resistance. Reconciliation with external powers and the region is not just down to Iran. Though it is unlikely to take place with the current ruling system in Iran, and without changes in policy by all, progress towards a less tense relationship is possible. Acknowledging Iran’s legitimate grievances is vital, though apologies are out of Iranians’ reach at present.
Sir Richard Dalton was a British diplomat from 1970 to 2006. From 1993-1997 he was UK Consul General in Jerusalem, responsible for dealings with the Palestinian Authority after the signing of the Oslo Accords. He re-established UK diplomatic relations with Libya in 1999 as the first Ambassador to Tripoli for 17 years. From 2002-2006 he was UK Ambassador in Tehran, playing a part in European negotiations with Iran. He has been an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at Chatham House, and co-wrote their Research Paper of September 2014: “Iran’s Nuclear Future”. He has been President of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce.