The Iranian Studies Unit of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will hold its second annual conference from 22-23 August 2022. The topic of this year’s conference will be “Iran: The Raisi Presidency One Year On.”

In an election with the lowest voter turnout of any presidential election to date, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s former head of the judiciary, became the eighth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in June 2021. The new president came to office amid a wave of voter apathy, poor economic performance, and general disillusionment with the political system. Raisi’s election represents the first time in post-Khomeini Iran when the president’s ideological dispositions and priorities are aligned with those of the velayat-e faqih.

Summer 2022 marks the first anniversary of Raisi’s inauguration. The two-day conference, featuring a selection of scholars of Iran, will analyse the first year of Raisi’s presidency by examining the continuities and changes in politics and policies. The conference covers the following topics:

  • Iranian foreign policy, especially Iran’s relations with the great powers; Iran and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); Iran and non-state actors; nuclear negotiations and the JCPOA; and Iran in the Caucasus;
  • Domestic politics, including the role of the various political institutions; the legitimacy of the system; treatment of activists; media freedoms, the future of the velayat-e faqih; the religious establishment; labor issues and activism; protests; cyber activism and restrictions;
  • The Iranian economy, with a focus on the impact of sanctions; cryptocurrency; workforce and employment; income inequality; industrial manufacturing and production; agricultural production;
  • Public policy, including the state’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare, demographic shifts and developments, refugees, climate change and environmental challenges, and cyberspace.

The conference will address these topics in 15 papers distributed among seven panels, in addition to a public lecture titled “Iranian Foreign Policy and the Raisi Presidency,” delivered by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, former spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the international community and a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Conference participants include a number of prominent scholars, among them Hamid Ahmadi, Leen Al-Rabbat, Hassan Muzaffar Al-Razzo, Omair Anas, Gawdat Bahgat, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Abdolrasool Divsallar, Javad Heiran-Nia, Bernard Hourcade, Nikolay Kozhanov, Eric Lob, Amir Mahdavi, Rovshan Mammadli, Ilkhom Mirzoev, Mahmood Monshipouri, Mahmoud Muhareb, and Mahjoob Zweiri.

The conference will be held in-person at the Arab Center in Doha.

*** Conference Booklet and Agenda.