On February, 11, 2019, the Islamic Republic of Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of its pro-Western monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, after a popular revolution. During the past four decades, Iran has faced a variety of pressures, both internal and external, and marks its fortieth anniversary in an atmosphere of renewed sanctions, domestic protests and uncertainty about US policy in the Middle East. The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative and the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida convened a conference on February 12 to examine the legacy and trajectory of the Iranian revolution and its impact on a tumultuous region.

Welcome Remarks and Introduction 

Barbara Slavin, Director, Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council 

Mohsen Milani, Executive Director, Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies, University of South Florida 

Session One – Legacy of the Iranian Revolution, Whither the Revolution

Mohsen Milani, Executive Director, Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies, University of South Florida

Vali Nasr,Dean, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University 

Ambassador (Ret.) John Limbert, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran

Nazila Fathi, Journalist and Author

Moderator: David Ignatius, Columnist, Washington Post 

Session Two – Iran’s Foreign and Security Policy

Ariane M. Tabatabai, Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Randa Slim, Director, Program on Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues, Middle East Institute; Non resident Fellow, SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

Derek Harvey, Senior Advisor, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence 

Natan Sachs, DirectorCenter for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institute 

Moderator: Mohsen Milani, Executive Director, Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies, University of South Florida 

Session Three – Evolution of Iran’s Domestic Politics 

Haleh Esfandiari, Former and Founding Director, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 

Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Associate Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University  

Holly Dagres, Editor, IranSource; Non-Resident Fellow, Atlantic Council

Moderator: Barbara Slavin, Director, Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council 

Session Four – Whither the Iranian Economy

Adnan Mazarei, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; former Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund

Sara Vakshouri, Founder and President, SVB Energy International 

Kevan Harris, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California-Los Angeles

Moderator: Mohsen Milani, Executive Director, Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies, University of South Florida 

Iran Initiative

Provides a balanced approach of engagement and containment for regional policy makers with unique perspectives and analysis on the ongoing challenges and opportunities facing Iran while promoting US interests, regional conflict resolution, and the well-being of the Iranian people.