Panel Discussion to address U.S. – Iran Nuclear Agreement

Topic: THE IRAN FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: A breakthrough, a good gamble or folly?

Panel Speakers:  Ambassador John Limbert, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East (Iran) and Dr. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, (FSI) Stanford University

Nuclear Iran

Panel Moderators: Dr. Philip Goldstone, former senior advisor within the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program at  Los Alamos National Laboratory and John Liebman, former attorney with the U.S. State Department

Location: Congregation Beit Tikva, 2230 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM

Parking at Congregation Beit Tikva is somewhat limited, visitors may also park on the street on Calle Espejo, across Old Pecos Trail from the synagogue.

Cost: $15 CIR Members; $20 Nonmembers and Guests


As we near the deadline for concluding a definitive, detailed agreement with Iran on its nuclear activities, it is imperative that we be informed about the framework agreement reached this spring – the realities and the myths, benefits and risks – from both technology and policy perspectives.

The World Affairs Discussion Committee of the Council on International Relations and Congregation Beit Tikva are pleased to co-sponsor a conversation among two leading experts in this area to examine the proposed agreement and to address many of the claims or concerns voiced regarding it.

Our guests for this important event are Ambassador John Limbert, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East (Iran) and himself was a hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, and Dr. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and currently a teaching fellow of nuclear policy at Stanford University.

This conversation will follow the format of the 92nd Street Y, and questions from the audience will be entertained at the conclusion of the discussion.  Moderators of this event will be Dr. Philip Goldstone, formerly with LANL and briefly a congressional fellow, and John Liebman, an attorney who previously worked at the State Department and later specialized in U.S. defense trade and national security matters.

The forum will be held on June 25, 2015 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Congregation Beit Tikva, 2230 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM.  Parking at Congregation Beit Tikva is somewhat limited, visitors may also park on the street on Calle Espejo, across Old Pecos Trail from the synagogue.

Panel Speakers:

Ambassador John W. Limbert

John Limbert is the Class of 1955 Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the United States Naval Academy.  In a 34-year career in the United States Foreign Service he served mostly in the Middle East and Islamic Africa and was Ambas­sador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  In 2009-2010 he took leave from his teaching post to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern (Iranian) Affairs.

Ambassador Limbert holds his Ph.D. from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies.  Before joining the Foreign Service he taught in Iran as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iranian Kurdestan (1964-66) and as an instructor at Shiraz University (1969-72).  He has written numerous articles and books on Middle Eastern subjects including Iran at War with History (Westview Press, 1987), Shiraz in the Age of Hafez (University of Washington Press, 2004), and Negotiating with Iran (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2009).  Limbert holds the Depart­ment of State’s highest award—the Distinguished Service Award—and other department awards, including the Award for Valor, which he received after fourteen months as a hostage in Iran.

Siegfried Hecker

Siegfried Hecker is a professor (research) in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, (FSI) at Stanford University. Hecker was the co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) from 2007-2012. He served as the fifth director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986-1997. Hecker received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University. His current professional interests include plutonium research, cooperative nuclear threat reduction with the Russian nuclear complex, global nonproliferation, the expansion of nuclear energy, and threats of nuclear terrorism. He is a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Among other awards, he received the National Academy of Engineering Arthur M. Bueche Award; the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Science Diplomacy, the Presidential Enrico Fermi Award, the Leo Szilard Prize, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Medal, the Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award, and the American Nuclear Society Seaborg Award.


Philip Goldstone

Philip Goldstone received his B.S. and M.S. from what is now the Polytechnic School of Engineering of New York University and his Ph.D. in Physics from Stony Brook University.  His graduate work was supported in part by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.  He is now retired from a 35-year career at Los Alamos National Laboratory that included research, management and senior-advisor roles within the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program, and planning support for the scientific capabilities of the Laboratory as an advisor to senior managers. In 2003-05 he was a Legislative Fellow and Senior National Security Science Advisor to then-Congresswoman Heather Wilson, and was the lead staff for a House Policy Committee study on nuclear proliferation in a post-9/11 world. His current activities are primarily with nonprofit organizations in the Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico community including Congregation Beit Tikva, the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, and the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund.

John Liebman

For more than 50 years, John Liebman practiced international trade law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California emphasizing export control issues.   Among his clients were aerospace and defense contractors, subcontractors, and academic and research institutions. He also advised financial institutions offering credit support to exporters and importers, including credit insurance and programs offered by the Export-Import Bank.

Prior to his private law career, Mr. Liebman served in Washington, D.C., with the Agency for International Development, Department of State, first as counsel and later as program director. He is a recipient of the National Order of the Southern Cross from the Brazilian Government and was listed for many years in Best Lawyers in America and Southern California Super Lawyers for his work in International Trade and Finance Law.

From 1983 through 1990, Mr. Liebman served as a member of the California State World Trade Commission, during which time he acted as the state’s trade lobbyist.  Also, as an expert in export controls, Mr. Liebman was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Encryption (PECSENC) from 1998-2001 and to the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA).  He also served on the Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG), U.S. Department of State, and as an advisor to the Pardee Center at RAND Corporation.  Mr. Liebman was a lecturer at the UCLA School of Law and adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School.  His reference work, United States Export Controls, is now in its seventh edition.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Liebman was a director and member of the executive committee for more than 30 years of the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic, a leading provider of mental health services to children in South Central Los Angeles, and is a past Chairman of that organization.  He currently serves as a member of New Mexico’s Technology Research Collaborative and as chairman of Creative Startups in Santa Fe, NM, and is a member of the Council on International Relations in that city.  Mr. Liebman received his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College.  Prior to entering law school at UCLA, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

You may purchase tickets here online or by calling the office at 982-4931.  Your name(s) will be added to the list of attendees; no tickets will be issued.