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US-Iran Détente: Past and Present

The historic September 2013 phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama represented the highest-level contact between Iran and the United States since relations between the two countries were severed in April 1980, in the midst of the Tehran hostage crisis. As Iran and the P5+1 move ahead with drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement, Tehran and Washington have carefully pursued a détente that could transform the political landscape of the Middle East. This roundtable will examine the troubled history of US-Iran relations, past failed efforts at détente, and the prospects for a breakthrough in US-Iran relations in 2014.

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Event Details

Speakers: Ambassador John Limbert, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern (Iranian) Affairs; Dr Chris Emery, University of Plymouth; Dr Roham Alvandi, LSE
Chair: Professor Toby Dodge
Date: Monday 12 May 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Location: Room 9.04, Tower 2, Clement's Inn, LSE
Attendance: This event is free and open to all on a first come first served basis. Our events are very well attended, please make sure to arrive early. We cannot guarantee entry



John Limbert is Class of 1955 Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy.  During a 34-year diplomatic career, he served mostly in the Middle East and Islamic Africa and was Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  He has lived in Iran as a university and high school teacher, and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where he was held hostage in 1979-81.  In 2009-2010, he came out of retirement to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern (Iranian) Affairs.


Christian Emery is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Plymouth and author of 'US Foreign Policy and the Iranian Revolution' (Palgrave, 2013). He completed his BA in History in 2003, his MPhil in US Foreign Policy in 2005, and his PhD in 2011 at the University of Birmingham. Prior to joining Plymouth, he held academic positions at the University of Warwick, the University of Nottingham, and the London School of Economics (LSE). Between 2010 and 2013, he was a post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the LSE.

Roham Alvandi

Roham Alvandi is Assistant Professor of International History at the LSE. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War, which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Before completing his doctorate at the University of Oxford, he worked on the strategic planning staff in the Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Tehran.

copyright Fabrice Coffrini, AFP/Getty Images
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