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Press Advisory

The Coming Crisis with Iran

A Conversation About Political, Diplomatic, and Military Options

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, December 15, 2006, the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation will convene a panel of experts to discuss the possibilities for addressing escalating volatility in Iran. 

Featured Panelists:
Thomas Pickering, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, 1989-1992, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 1997-2001
Flynt Leverett, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Sam Gardiner, Colonel, United States Air Force (retired)

Moderated By:
Joe Cirincione, Senior Vice President, Center for American Progress

Jeffrey Laurenti, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

At this event The Century Foundation will release the following expert white papers:
Gareth Smyth, Iranian Politics and Nuclear Confrontation
Barry Posen, A Nuclear Iran: A Difficult but not Impossible Policy Problem
Flynt Leverett, Dealing with Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options
Bruce Jentleson, Sanctions Against Iran: Key Issues Sam Gardiner, The End of the Summer of Diplomacy

Friday, December 15, 2006
Program: 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Admission is free.
Lunch will be served at noon.

Please RSVP to: [email protected]

Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

Thomas R. Pickering was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the United States Foreign Service. Prior to becoming Under Secretary, he served as the President of the Eurasia Foundation, a Washington-based organization which makes small grants and loans to the states of the former Soviet Union in support of democracy and economic reform. He previously served as Ambassador to the Russian Federation from May 1993 until November 1996. He also served as Ambassador to India from 1992-1993, Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1989-1992, Ambassador to Israel from 1985-1988, to El Salvador from 1983-1985, and to Nigeria from 1981-1983. Ambassador Pickering was born on November 5, 1931, in Orange, New Jersey. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s Degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Melbourne where he received a second Master’s Degree. From 1956 to 1959, he was on active duty in the United States Navy and later served in the Naval Reserve. In 1983 and in 1986, Ambassador Pickering won the Distinguished Presidential Award and in 1996, the Department’s Distinguished Service Award. In 1984, he received an honorary doctorate-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College. Subsequently, he has been similarly honored by ten other universities.

Sam Gardiner is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College, and Naval War College. He was recently a visiting scholar at the Swedish Defence College. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he was a regular on CNN, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, BBC radio and television, and National Public Radio. In 2004, he conducted a war game organized by the Atlantic Monthly to gauge how an American president might respond, militarily or otherwise, to Iran’s rapid progress toward developing nuclear weapons. He also has conducted war games on North Korea.

Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow and director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He is also a visiting professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Between 1992 and 2003, he had a distinguished career in government, serving as senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, Middle East expert on the secretary of state’s Policy Planning Staff, and senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. He is the author of Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire (Brookings Institution Press, 2005), a study of politics and policymaking in Syria that also offers recommendations for U.S. policy toward this critical country. He has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The National Interest, and numerous other publications. He has appeared on a wide range of news and public affairs programs, including Hard Talk, Lou Dobbs Tonight and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Jeffrey Laurenti served as a senior advisor to the United Nations Foundation and deputy director of the United Nations and Global Security initiative to support the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General. Laurenti was executive director of policy studies at the United Nations Association of the United States until 2003, currently serves on the Association’s Board of Directors, and also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, senior issues advisor to the Mondale/Ferraro campaign in 1984, and from 1978 to 1984, was Executive Director of the New Jersey Senate. He is the author of numerous monographs and has authored articles for The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, New York Newsday, The Los Angeles Times, and international policy journals.

Joseph Cirincione is Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. He is one of America’s best known weapons experts, appearing frequently in print and on FOX News, CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR, BBC, and occasionally on Comedy Central. He is the author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, Spring 2007), Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, (Second Edition, 2005), and co-author of Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005). He teaches at the Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Center in May 2006, Mr. Cirincione served as director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of numerous articles on nuclear weapons issues, the producer of two DVDs on proliferation, and is a frequent commentator on these issues in the media. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is an honors graduate of Boston College and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.