The signing of the JCPOA in July 2015 marked a significant turning point in the West’s relationship with Iran. Since the deal was announced, a number of trade and political delegations from all over the world have visited Tehran to boost bilateral ties and explore opportunities to re-engage with the Iranian market, trying to take full advantage as crippling economic and trade sanctions were lifted.
Internally though this has only served to bring to the fore the divisions that exist within Iran’s ruling class between the hard-line and more pragmatic conservatives. While the Rouhani Administration presents Iran as a safe and attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment, hard-liners continue to argue that any sort of engagement with Europe and America should be treated with the upmost suspicion. At the same time, Iran’s foreign policy in the aftermath of the deal has been characterised mainly by continuity, leading the country’s strategic goals in the region to often be perceived in direct opposition with those of the West.
Ambassador Roberto Toscano served as Italy's ambassador to Iran between 2003 and 2008, and as ambassador to India from 2008 to 2010. Until 2003, he was Head of Policy Planning at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and chaired the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee network on conflict, peace, and development co-operation. As a career diplomat, he has served in a number of other posts (Chile, USSR, Spain, United States, as well as at Italy’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations at Geneva).
The discussion will be moderated by RUSI Research Fellow Dr Aniseh Bassairi Tabrizi.