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CIC National Capital (Ottawa): MESG Event – Security and Democracy in a Changing Middle East: The Case of Iran

January 9, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST


The CIC National Capital Branch’s Middle East Study Group (MESG) invites you to its next event –

Security and Democracy in a Changing Middle East: The Case of Iran – Challenges and Opportunities for Canadian Diplomacy 


Since the 1979 transformations in Iran, the subsequent unwanted wars in the region, as well as external interventions, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have risen unabatedly. Currently, the breakdown of international rules based order, foreign interference, economic decline, and lack of democracy and justice are at the centre of many protests in the Middle East. In the case of today’s Iran, following the P5+1 negotiations, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted resolution 2231 (2015) and endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in Vienna by the five permanent members of the Council, plus Germany, the European Union and Iran. However, with the unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), one of the fundamental aspects of the UNSC’s endorsement (i.e., the removal of the sanctions) was violated.
Young Iranians who have seen their economic prospects destroyed, recently protested in several Iranian cities. While these protest were triggered by a sudden rise in the price of gasoline, other issues, such as unemployment, inflation, corruption and unpopular religious rules were also at the front and centre of these protests.
Given the daunting array of internal and external challenges that are thrown at the innocent people of the Middle East region, the MESG is pleased to host a panel of experts, who will provide an overview followed by a conversation on the current geopolitics of the Middle East and the recent protests in Iran. The paradox of Iran has been a topic that many talk about but fail to understand. In this context, this panel will attempt to review some of the key determinants and their cause-effect structure that would likely define the future of the region and the innocent Iranians who have been held hostage to the political expediency of special interests for too long. 

Panel Speakers

Dr. Michael Atallah  – The Coming Confrontation with Iran – Implications and Fallout in the Middle East and Beyond

Dr. Michael Atallah is a Senior Middle East Analyst at the Privy Council Office with a specialization on the Levant and the Persian Gulf. Atallah also worked on the Middle East Peace Process at the International Development Research Centre on Palestinian refugee issue where he facilitated track II diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians. While at the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), Atallah worked on sustainable human development projects in Arab countries. Atallah holds a PhD from the London School of Economics in International History with a focus on Lebanon and MA from the University of London, King’s College in the Department of War Studies in Middle East politics. He is also a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. Atallah has extensively travelled throughout the Middle East and frequently lectures on history and politics of the region.

Dr. Farhad Rezaei – The recent protests in Iran and their implications for the February 2020 Parliamentary Elections

Dr. Farhad Rezaei is Associate Fellow, Center for International Policy Studies (CIPS), University of Ottawa. Rezaei is a renowned expert in Defense and Strategic Studies and has authored numerous books and articles on Middle East politics, Iran’s defence and foreign policies, arms control, nuclear proliferation, nuclear intelligence, and terrorism. His latest book (co-authored) is Iran, Revolution and Proxy Wars, Palgrave Macmillan.


The presentations will be followed by a Q&A.

While this event is free, we ask that you register in advance with

Hamid Jorjani, Ph.D.
Chair, MESG


January 9, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST
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Richmond Room, Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1 Canada
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