Great Rifts: Political and Economic Ramifications of the Iran-Saudi Divide

February 9, 2016 - 10:00 am

1030 15th Street NW, Floor 12
Washington, DC

Future of Iran Initiative

Great Rifts: Political and Economic Ramifications of the Iran-Saudi Divide

A Conversation with:
Frederic C. Hof
Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East 
Atlantic Council

Amir Handjani
PG International Commodity Trading Services

Sara Vakhshouri​
Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

David Ottaway
Senior Scholar
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Moderated by:
Barbara Slavin
Acting Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council 

The Atlantic Council's Future of Iran Initiative invites you to a discussion entitled, "Great Rifts: Political and Economic Ramifications of the Iran-Saudi Divide" on Tuesday, February 9.

More than a month after the Saudi execution of a prominent Shi'ite leader and Iranian despoiling of the Saudi embassy, the rift between the two major Middle Eastern powers continues to roil regional diplomacy. The strife between the two countries has the potential to transform into a full blown conflict, with ramifications on the proposed peace process in Syria and global energy markets. Join us for a discussion about the impact of this dangerous divide on shifting economic and political trends in the region.

On Twitter? Follow @ACSouthAsia and use hashtag #ACIran

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

Metro and parking info


Frederick C. Hof came to the Atlantic Council after a career as a US Army officer, a private sector CEO, and a US Department of State diplomat. He is a Vietnam veteran and as a military officer served on the commission that investigated the 1983 bombing of the US Marine Corps headquarters at Beirut International Airport. While in the private sector he took a leave of absence in 2001 to serve as Chief of Staff of the Sharm al-Sheikh Fact-Finding Commission, headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell,and was the principal drafter of the Commission's report. In the Department of State from 2009 to 2012, he took the lead in an effort to mediate Syrian-Israeli peace and was given the rank of ambassador in his capacity as Special Adviser to the Secretary for Transition in Syria. Among his military decorations is the Purple Heart.

Amir Handjani is President of PG International Commodity Trading Services, which imports a wide variety of agro-commodities such as wheat, corn, raw sugar, feed grain and vegetable oil, and is instrumental in facilitating humanitarian trade into the Iranian market. He is a member of the Board of Directors of RAK Petroleum PLC, an exploration and production company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and PT Capital, an Arctic resource asset management firm. Handjani is a Truman National Security fellow and a member of the Board of the Atlantic Council.

Sara Vakhshouri is a non-resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. founder and President of SVB Energy International, a strategic energy consulting firm based in Washington, DC, Vakhshouri is an internationally recognized expert on global energy market studies, energy security, and geopolitical risk with a special focus on the Middle East, Iran, and Mexico. Vakhshouri, who has a PhD in energy security and Middle Eastern studies and MA in Business Management and International Relations, worked in both the public and private sectors of the Iranian energy industry from 2000 to 2008, including at the National Iranian Oil Company. She has published articles in numerous journals including The Economist, Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), and Oil and Gas Journal. She is the author of The Marketing and Sale of Iranian Export Crude Oil since the Islamic Revolution.

David B. Ottaway is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He worked 35 years at The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe and later as a national security and investigative reporter in Washington before retiring in 2006. He has won numerous awards for his reporting at home and abroad and was twice nominated a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Ottaway was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1979-80 and again in 2005-06. His most recent book, published in November 2008, was The King's Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America's Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia. He is currently finishing a book on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Ottaway received a BA from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1962 and PhD from Columbia University in 1972.