The U.S. and Iran: Road to War or Path to Peace?


Asia: Beyond the Headlines — Mohammad Khazaee and Thomas Pickering in conversation with David Ignatius

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Since diplomatic relations were severed in 1980, the U.S.–Iran relationship has faced a towering legacy of mistrust, conflict, and missteps. Hopes of breaking the decades-long impasse were raised four years ago when President Barack Obama offered Iran America's hand of friendship if Tehran "unclenched its fist." In the interim, the United States has led the international community in putting in place the most comprehensive sanctions against Iran, while Iran has accelerated its nuclear program, bringing the long embattled relationship to the brink of conflict. As the current confrontational course becomes increasingly dangerous, are the two nations on the road to war? Or is a political solution possible?

Iran's highest-ranking official in the United States, Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, joins former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering for a candid discussion on the future of U.S.-Iran relations, moderated by award-winning journalist and author David Ignatius.


Mohammad KhazaeeMohammad Khazaee is Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations. From 2002 to 2007, he was Vice Minister for International Affairs and President of the Organization for Economic and Technical Assistance in Iran’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. Concurrently, he served as Governor of the OPEC Fund, Alternate Governor of the Islamic Development Bank, and a board member of the Iran-Misr (Iran-Egypt) Development Bank. Previously, he represented Iran at the World Bank (1988 to 2002) and served as a Member of Parliament (1981 to 1988).


Thomas R. PickeringIn a diplomatic career with service in each of the major continents, Thomas R. Pickering reached the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service, retiring as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in 2000. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. He also was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Most recently, he was appointed by Secretary of State Clinton to lead the Accountability Review Board probing the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


David IgnatiusDavid Ignatius (moderator) is an associate editor and award-winning columnist for The Washington Post. He is also creator and co-moderator of “PostGlobal,” an online conversation about international affairs at He has written eight novels, including Body of Lies, which director Ridley Scott adapted into a film. He has received numerous honors, including the Legion of Honor from the French Republic, the Urbino World Press Award from the Italian Republic, and a lifetime achievement award from the International Committee for Foreign Journalism.


4:30-5:00 pm: Registration
5:00-6:30 pm: Discussion


This program is part of Asia: Beyond the Headlines, a series of conversations with leading policy makers and thought leaders about the critical issues facing the United States and Asia.

Event Details

Wed 20 Feb 2013
5 - 6:30 p.m.
725 Park Ave. (at 70th St.)
This event is Sold Out.
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