Whither Iran? Two Programs For You Next Week | Register

U.S – Iran: Challenges Ahead

1 – Monday night – “Turning Point in US-Iran Relations” – Ambassador Frank Wisner – Global Town Hall

2 – Wednesday lunch-time – “Iran and America: Four Decades of Conflict” – LCDR Patrick Ryan, USN(Ret) – Global Dialogue

Join us for these informative sessions on US-Iran relations, the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s threats to US and allies’ interests in the region and what’s ahead.

Details and registration links follow.

Global Town Hall

The Tennessee World Affairs Council And

Belmont University’s Center for International Business

In Association With The Iran Project

Invite You

Turning Point in US-Iran Relations

Career Ambassador Frank G. Wisner, US Foreign Service (Retired)

Belmont University
Vince Gill Room
Curb Event Center Concourse
February 26, 2018
Check-in/Networking – 5:30 pm
Program – 6:00 pm

Attendance is free. Registration is required.



World Affairs Council Membership Is Open to All — Join Here

The Trump Administration has tasked Congress to revise legislation dealing with the Iran nuclear agreement and has also called on European allies to amend the deal. Can compromises between the parties be reached within the short deadline in order to keep the U.S. committed to the deal? Is there a better way to achieve America’s objectives to contain Iran without walking away from the agreement?

“…we’ve been very clear on our policy on Iran. The prior administration focused all of the Iranian policy around the nuclear deal, the JCPOA. Our policy is much broader. We look at the totality of Iran’s actions and behaviors. So the decisions around waiving sanctions relative to the nuclear agreement and decisions to take in terms of imposing additional sanctions on Iran that are unrelated to the nuclear agreement are – there’s a broad array when you talk about sanctions.

“I think some people get confused — sometimes, and it’s understandable. But Iran’s support for the Houthis in Yemen, their support for destabilization efforts in Syria, the funding of militias, the sending of foreign fighters, arming terrorist organizations in the region, Lebanese Hizballah – that has to be dealt with. And our sanctions are targeted at Iran’s destabilizing activities within the region while still maintaining all our efforts to ensure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.

“So there are sanctions regimes built around both of those efforts. And what the President has done with his policies, is he’s now looked at Iran in its totality and said Iran has to be held to account in both of these areas.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Jan 5, 2018

Frank G. Wisner is an International Affairs Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs. A career diplomat with the personal rank of Career Ambassador, he previously served as Ambassador to India from 1994-1997. Additionally, he held the positions of Ambassador to Zambia (1979-82), Egypt (1986-91), and the Philippines (1991-1992). Mr. Wisner has served in a number of positions in the U.S. government, including Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (1993-94), Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs (1992-93), Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs (1982-86), and Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State (1977). During the course of his career, Frank Wisner served in the Middle East and South and East Asia.

The Iran Project continues its efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran has remained in full compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) since the interim agreement was signed in 2013, but new threats to the JCPOA have emerged. Although the Trump administration has not withdrawn from the agreement, the actions and threats from the Executive Branch and from Congress against Iran and the JCPOA could eventually lead to its demise.


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The Tennessee World Affairs Council and Belmont University’s Center for International Business Present


“Four Decades of Conflict”

Patrick Ryan

U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer (Retired) and President, Tennessee World Affairs Council

February 28, 2018

12:00-1:00 pm

Belmont University, Massey College of Business

Room MC 203 | Massey Business Center



Convenient Parking Available

Park at Belmont’s Inman Center/North Garage (Directions at this Link). From Inman Garage take the Inman Building elevator to the second floor. Turn left to cross the pedestrian bridge to the Massey Business Center. Take the elevator to the second floor. Room MC 203. 


Please Register to Secure a Seat / Please Cancel if Your Plans Change.

It is no surprise that among the Council on Foreign Relations “Seven Foreign Policy Stories to Watch in 2018” the challenge Iran poses to its neighbors and American interests in the Gulf would be found.

James Lindsay, writing for CFR in December talked about Iran’s big for regional hegemony, “Iranian leaders must be pleased with how 2017 played out. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looks to be securely in power in Damascus. Ditto Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Islamic State lost much of its territory.

The Iraqi government retook the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Houthi rebels have Saudi Arabia bogged down in a quagmire in Yemen. Iranian involvement figured prominently in all of these developments, which has entrenched Iranian influence across the region.”

What has taken some observers by surprise has been the January 2018 eruption of violent protests among Iranians motivated to some extent but not exclusivity by dissatisfaction with the ruling regime’s handling of the economy.

The developments in Iran and the region are unfolding as the Trump Administration expands its rhetorical and policy moves against Tehran — from verbal support of protestors to implementation of new sanctions targeting Iran’s regional misbehavior. The Iran nuclear deal, the P5+1 JCPOA multilateral agreement verified by international monitors as effective, is the target of the White House and Congress.  The National Security Strategy announced by President Trump in December said the US will “work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence” as part of it’s priority political actions in the region.

Meanwhile, America’s key gulf ally, Saudi Arabia, is pitting its regional foreign policy and military preparedness against the Iranian threat, directly and through proxy actors across the Middle East.

The US-Iranian relationship has been in dangerous waters before. However, 2018 portends an increase in bilateral frictions that could lead to direct US-Iranian confrontations. So as we enter a new season in this decades long contentious relationship it’s a good time to discuss where we are, how we got here and where we are likely to go in 2018.

Join us in a conversation about Iran and America, the four decades of challenges the relationship has posed in the Middle East, along with our President, Patrick Ryan, who in his career as a Navy Intelligence Officer has spent many years — starting in the 70s with regular visits to Iran — focused on the Gulf developments especially vis a vis Iran from vantage points ranging from the Joint Staff in the Pentagon to ships at sea facing off against a persistent military threat.

Here are some resources to help you prepare for this Global Dialogue conversation:


About Patrick Ryan

Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired) and Founding President of the Tennessee World Affairs Council

Patrick Ryan is the volunteer President and founder of the Tennessee World Affairs Council. In 2007 Mr. Ryan organized a group of concerned citizens to launch Tennessee’s first World Affairs Council, to bring global awareness education programs and resources to communities and schools in the state. At age 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served a 26-year career, assigned first in the Persian Gulf in 1973 followed by assignments in the Submarine Service where he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Mr. Ryan received a BA degree at the University of South Carolina, in 1981, majoring in International Studies followed by commissioning in the Navy as an Ensign and completed coursework in the Georgetown University National Security Studies program. Mr. Ryan served aboard numerous ships, headquarters staffs and overseas assignments before retiring in 1998 as a Lieutenant Commander. Among his assignments were the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analyses, and US Central Command headquarters.

In the 1970s he served aboard the Middle East Force flagship in Bahrain and participated in bilateral exercises with Iranian naval forces. In the 1980s he served aboard ships that were involved in the “tanker war” between Iran and Iraq. At CENTCOM in the 1990s he headed the analytical branch that produced assessments of WMD, terrorism, and other transnational issues including threats posed by Iran to US interests. From 1999-2014 he published newsletters on Gulf affairs and was a frequent visitor to the Arabian Peninsula.

Ryan has lived and worked in Bahrain, Italy and Japan and has traveled to about 50 countries for work and leisure. He currently is abroad for an extended stay in York, England but will be in Nashville for this Global Dialogue and other World Affairs Council events.  [Additional Details]

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THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.   

Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at: www.TNWAC.org  — 

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