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Monday, October 19, 2020

Campus

UH Energy Symposium series: Iranian Deal’s effect on the U.S.


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The Energy Symposium featured a discussion that scratched the surface on the history and geopolitical position of Iran, the basics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the implications for energy in relation to the Iranian Deal. | Photo by Justin Tijerina \ The Cougar.

In the latest Energy Symposium panel discussion, leading experts in international energy research gathered Tuesday night to discuss how the Iran nuclear deal will affect the United States in a talk called “Energy Policy: Did the US Win or Lose in the Iran Nuclear Deal?”

The discussion scratched the surface on the history and geopolitical position of Iran, the basics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the implications for energy in relation to the Iranian Deal.

As they walked in, the audience was greeted with a high-production introduction video and a panel set up on the stage. The panel included founder and president of SVB Energy International Sara Vakshouri, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and chairman and practice head of Eurasia Group Cliff Kupchan.

Kupchan said the deal lifted certain economic sanctions from Iran in exchange for putting heavy limitations on its nuclear program for the next 10 years. He said the subject is controversial because it had complicated the relations between U.S. and other countries in the region, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

The return of Iranian oil on the global market also raises concerns in the environment where U.S. oil companies struggle to gain profit because of the low prices, but the panelists were optimistic of future prospects.

Kupchan said the U.S. ultimately wins when considering its national interests. He said that preventing the threat of Iran getting nuclear weapons for the next 10 years was more valuable than the U.S. keeping a grip on Iran’s economy.

Supporting Kupchan’s assessment was Joe Barnes, Bonner Means Baker Fellow at the Baker Institute for public policy. He said sanctions were a means to an end of influencing Iran to act according to U.S.’s interests, and in that capacity, they were successful.

“Iranian people love American products,” petroleum engineering senior Arash Fadavi said. “They were only talking about energy. There are other industries that America’s going to benefit (from) if they start trading with Iran.”

The audience for the event seemed to be split in half between seasoned professionals in the field and UH students who had some connection to the issue, mostly engineering undergraduates.

“I think it’s really important for us as students and also for the community to understand how we are a part of this huge world,” petroleum engineering senior John Karras said . “I think there was a definite hopeful tone to what the speakers thought would be the relationship with Iran moving forward.”

Those who missed the two-hour event can watch the full lecture online.

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