UKLFI Charitable Trust hosted a webinar on Iran and the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Prof Shaul Chorev and Dr Efrat Sopher. The chair was Natasha Hausdorff. It took place on Sunday 1st May 2022.
This webinar discussed one of the most important issues facing Israel and Middle East: how to respond to Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons and a network of proxies across the Middle East. Iran regards its nuclear program as a symbol of power and national prestige, as well as an insurance against external threats. Its Revolutionary Guards and Qods Force provide arms, training and financial support to militias and political movements in at least six Middle East countries. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA), agreed by the governments of Iran, USA, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany in 2015, was intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions on Iran. However, it was considered unsatisfactory by many, including the governments of Israel and Sunni Arab states, and the Trump administration withdrew from it.
Following the change of US administration in January 2021, negotiations were initiated to revive the JCPOA. But since ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi took office in August 2021, Islamic hard-liners and IRGC commanders now occupy all top posts in Iran. In the meanwhile Iran has been steadily enriching uranium and continuing to sponsor terrorist organisations and insurgencies in the Middle East. In this webinar we will be privileged to hear analyses of the situation and the options facing different governments from leading experts on Iran.
More about the speakers:
Rear Admiral, Professor Shaul Chorev, the former Head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, is the Director of the Maritime Policy & Strategy Research Center at the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf States Research and the Wydra Division for Shipping & Ports at the University of Haifa. He also holds the Reuven Chaikin Chair for Geostrategy in the School of Political Science and heads the M.A. program in National Security and Maritime Strategy at the University Of Haifa. He has held numerous senior positions in the Israeli defence establishment, including: Assistant to the Minister of Defence for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defence; Commanding Officer of the Haifa Naval Base; and Commanding Officer of an Israeli Naval Flotilla (missile boats & submarines).
Dr. Efrat Sopher chairs the Board of Advisors at the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf States Research at the University of Haifa. She also advises governments and organisations on foreign policy in the Middle East. She received a BA in international relations from the University of Southern California and an MSc, MPhil and PhD from the London School of Economics, specialising in Israeli foreign policy towards Iran. She has also qualified and practised as a solicitor in London. Efrat is an active member of the World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps, a Deputy at the Board Deputies of British Jews, a Vice Chair of the Board of the S&P Sephardi Community, and a Director of UK Lawyers for Israel.
Natasha Hausdorff is a barrister at 6 Pump Court Chambers, and a frequent speaker on International Law. She has a law degree from Oxford University, qualified as a solicitor at Skadden, and subsequently gained an LLM from Tel Aviv University, focussing on public international law and the law of armed conflict. She clerked for Miriam Naor, former President of Israel's Supreme Court and was a Fellow at Columbia Law School's National Security Program. Natasha is legal director of UKLFI Charitable Trust.