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European Policies Towards Iran - A German Perspective

Event organized by the Henry Jackson Society

Lecture and debate with Saba Farzan, Senior Fellow and Head of Iran Research, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin and Michael Spaney, Executive Director, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin

When:  1 – 2pm, Thursday 14th March 2013

Venue: Committee Room 18, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

With Iran having shown few signs of stopping on its path towards a more expansive nuclear enrichment programme, the West has been forced to respond with an increasingly vigorous sanctions regime. The European Union has shown remarkable co-ordination in its policy towards Iran, with France, Britain and Germany leading the effort to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

The Federal Republic of Germany is however still the largest Western trading partner of Iran's dictatorship, delivering, among other things, technology that can also be used for military purposes. The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce have stated that any sanctions on Iran have noticeable impact on Germany’s economic growth. At the same time, German - Iranian cooperation does not stop at trade, but also continues in fields like education and political exchanges.

What options does the European Union have available in tackling the Iran nuclear issue? Are we finally seeing the sanctions work? What impact can Germany make in this extremely precarious situation? What are the consequences if German Iran policy continues down its current path of trade and cultural exchanges, and is a peaceful regime change in Iran truly a possibility?

By kind invitation of Bob Blackman MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a panel discussion with Saba Farzan, Senior Fellow and Head of Iran Research at Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB), and Michael Spaney, Executive Director of Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) and Spokesman for the STOP THE BOMB Campaign. The speakers will assess Germany's role in European Iran policy, its shortcomings and potential, and options for preventing a nuclear armed Iran through peaceful means.


Saba Farzan is a German-Iranian journalist, and Senior Fellow and Head of Iran Research of Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin. She is also Senior Fellow on Women's Rights at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. Her areas of expertise are Iran’s civil society, US-Iranian relations, US and European Middle East policy as well as immigration and integration in Europe. She frequently comments on these issues on German radio and television. Her articles have appeared in German, Austrian and Swiss newspapers as well asThe Wall Street Journal Europe, Standpoint Magazine, The Huffington Post, Times of Israel and The Australian. She serves on the Advisory Board of Stand for Peace and is a Board Member of the Berlin chapter of Liberal International. A native of Teheran, she was raised in Germany and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Bayreuth with research stays at the Kurt Weill Foundation and Yale University.

Michael Spaney is the Executive Director at the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB). The MFFB is a German foreign policy institute founded in 2007. MFFB strives to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Middle East and North Africa. Spaney is a spokesperson for the STOP THE BOMB campaign, an NGO combatting Iran´s nuclear weapons program. He is also a member of the German chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). He is a TV journalist, and has worked for a national German TV broadcaster. Spaney has worked on Israel-related topics and German-Iranian trade relations. He is the author of ‘Siemens, Linde and Co.’ in Hartmann/Grigat (ed.): Iran im Weltsystem.