The Honorable Thomas R. Pickering, Career Ambassador, U.S. Department of State
Jim Walsh, Research Associate, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
General Anthony Zinni, United States Marine Corps (ret.) and former Commander in Chief, United States Central Command
moderated by Rachel Bronson, Vice President, Studies, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs


International sanctions, hyperinflation, and a crumbling currency are shaking Iran. Yet sanctions have been so far unsuccessful in forcing Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. In the absence of definitive progress from the latest round of negotiations, proponents of military intervention remain a powerful force in the ongoing debate surrounding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Amidst escalating tensions, is there a viable path for diplomacy in the months ahead? Join The Chicago Council for a discussion of the options for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear talks, perspective on the military debate, and political considerations leading up to the U.S. presidential election.

Thomas PickeringAmbassador Thomas R. Pickering presently serves as vice chairman of Hills & Company. He previously served as senior vice president for international relations and as a member of the executive committee at the Boeing Company. He holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service, and has had a diplomatic career spanning five decades serving as under secretary of state for Political Affairs, ambassador to the United Nations, and ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan, and El Salvador. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the State Department’s highest honor. He earned a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.A. from both the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Jim WalshJim Walsh is an expert in international security and a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Security Studies Program. His research focuses on international security, particularly nuclear weapons and terrorism. He also works as the international security analyst for WHDH-TV Boston, an affiliate of NBC. Prior to returning to MIT in 2006, Walsh served as the executive director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Walsh has testified in front of the United States Senate regarding Iran’s nuclear program and is among a handful of individuals who has traveled to Iran and North Korea to discuss nuclear issues with officials. Walsh earned a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Anthony ZinniGeneral Anthony Zinni is a retired four-star general in the United States Marine Corps and a former commander in chief of the United States Central Command. He currently serves as a member of the board at BAE Systems, Inc. His military service has taken him to over 70 countries and includes deployments to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, Northern Europe, and Korea. In 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He received a B.A. from Villanova University, an M.A. from Salvae Regina College, and an M.B.A. from Central Michigan University.

Rachel Bronson (moderator) is the vice president of Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Prior to joining The Chicago Council, she served as senior fellow and director of Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

This program is cosponsored by The Iran Project, a group of former diplomats and military leaders working to analyze and assess potential political and diplomatic solutions to the conflict between the United States and Iran.

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