Iran Under President Ahmadinejad
The June 26 meeting presented a reversal of the overarching conclusion of last year's conference that the election of President Ahmadinejad would not significantly affect Iran's path of reform. This underestimation was addressed with a discussion of the recent developments and trends in Iran. The first panel featured a discussion of the national political and socio-economic situation as well as a presentation on the power of the local democratic establishment in Iran. Speakers addressed the real versus perceived command capacity of President Ahmadinejad, the fruition or failure of his socio-economic policies, and the seeming reversal of local democratic reform under his administration. The second panel focused on Iran's foreign policy drivers, options, and goals. Speakers touched on Iran's historical and strategic ambitions in the Caspian region as well as its relations with Europe and the United States. They discussed Iran's attempt to secure itself economically and the strategic determinants steering the country's actions and overtures.