The Iranian Studies Unit of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will hold its third annual conference from 6-7 September 2023. The topic of this year’s conference is “Iran’s Look East Policy”.

In recent years, with the rise of the conservative forces in all branches of government, the “Look East” policy has become more prominent in Iran’s foreign policy. Although the Eastern strategy has its roots in the Ahmadinejad administration’s endeavor to connect with the countries of the global south, President Raisi, perhaps more than any of his predecessors, has pushed to establish deeper ties with the East. In Raisi’s conception, Iran’s relations with all parts of the world other than Europe and North America fall under the broad umbrella of its “Look East” policy. As part of this policy, in addition to sustained attention to Africa and Latin America, bilateral relations between Iran, China, and Russia are progressing at an unprecedented scale, with all parties attempting to further develop their economic cooperation and to consolidate relations. Iran and China signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement in March 2021, and shortly afterward, Iran and Russia attempted to renew and extend their 20-year agreement, which expired around the same time. Iran has also become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The conference will explore the origins, implications, challenges, and opportunities of Iran’s “Look East” policy, as well as Iranian and other perspectives on the Islamic Republic’s international relations with countries to its geographic east and in the global south more broadly.

The conference will address these topics in 24 papers distributed among eight panels, in addition to a keynote lecture delivered by Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Professor of International Relations at the School of International Relations, Iran, and an advisor to the Iranian Foreign Minister.

Conference participants include Rowena Abdul Razak, Cyrus Ashayeri, Omar Ashour, Niloufar Baghernia, Gawdat Bahgat, Abdolrasool Divsallar, Aicha Elbasri, Mohamad Hamas ElMasry, Karim Eslamloueyan, Jonathan Fulton, Diana Galeeva, Olivia Glombitza, Hessam Habibi Doroh, Ayat Hamdan, Jianwei Han, Harith Hasan, Javad Heiran-Nia, Shireen Hunter, Marwan Kabalan, Emad Kaddorah, Mehran Kamrava, Zahra Karimi, Sarvenaz Khanmohammadi, Banafsheh Keynoush, Mazaher Koruzhde, Nikolay Kozhanov, Eric Lob, Mahmood Monshipouri, Kadhim Hashim Niama, Huda Raouf, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Deepika Saraswat, Li-Chen Sim, Bayram Sinkaya, Degang Sun, Steven Wright, and Chuchu Zhang.

The conference will be held in-person at the Arab Center in Doha. Interested members of the public can attend the conference in person at the Cultural Building of the Arab Center. Simultaneous translation is provided in English and Arabic.

*** Conference Agenda.

*** Conference Booklet.