Goodarzi Speaks at the University of Chicago

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Jubin Goodarzi, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the International Relations Department at Webster Geneva Campus spent the Fall 1 term at the main campus of Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri where he taught a history course and participated in the activities of the Department of History, Politics and International Relations (HPIR). Last month, he was part of a panel discussing foreign perspectives on the U.S. presidential elections, where he explained the various views in the Middle East on the November elections. In mid-October, Goodarzi traveled to Chicago where he gave a presentation on Iranian foreign policy at a seminar at Northwestern University, and later on the same day, he delivered a lecture at the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) entitled "Iran and Syria: the Rise, Decline and Durability of the Tehran-Damascus Alliance." The University of Chicago is considered to be one of the most prominent academic institutions in Middle Eastern studies, not only in the United States, but also in the world. Jubin Goodarzi visited the CMES at the invitation of its director, Professor Hakan Karateke, and the deputy director, Professor Thomas Maguire.

In his lecture, Goodarzi traced the rise and evolution of the alliance between Iran and Syria since its inception in 1979, highlighting its achievements and setbacks, and then focusing on Tehran’s role in assisting Bashar Assad’s regime since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria in March 2011. He shed light on Iran’s involvement over the past five years to prevent the toppling of the regime in Damascus, and lobbying Russia in 2015 to enter the fray, in view of the reverses suffered by Syrian government forces and the limits of Tehran’s capabilities. Goodarzi explained while Iran was relieved by Moscow’s intervention in Syria, paradoxically, Russia has now overshadowed Iran as the main backer of Bashar Assad. Iran has been relegated to a secondary position and faces greater constraints in pursuing its interests in Syria. Furthermore, Moscow and Tehran do not necessarily share the same objectives in Syria, with Iran being more committed to keeping the Syrian leader in power. The lecture was attended primarily by graduate students and professors. The 45-minute lecture was followed by a discussion/question-and-answer period.