Recorded on 10 July 2019 at 18:15

In 2001, Jack Straw became the first senior British government minister to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution and has developed a growing interest in the country ever since. His latest book examines Britain’s extraordinary and tangled relationship with Iran, and why so many Iranians are obsessed with Britain’s role.

Rather as we in the United Kingdom continue to define ourselves by what happened nearly eighty years ago at the start of the Second World War, modern Iranians define themselves by their bloody experience of the Iran–Iraq war of 1980–88, where the country had stood alone against Iraq. The conflict was an act of unprovoked aggression by Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq. The rest of the world – France, the Soviet Union, later the US and the UK – all piled in to support Iraq, with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States bankrolling Saddam. It was this experience that has helped define Iran’s view of the world, and its attitudes to both its local rivals for power and those further afield.

In his presentation, Jack Straw shed new light on Britain’s difficult relationship with Iran and explore the culture, psychology and history of this fascinating country.

The Rt Hon Jack Straw is one of three senior Ministers to remain in Cabinet throughout the 1997 to 2010 Labour Government. He served as Foreign Secretary (2001 to 2006), Home Secretary (1997 to 2001), Leader of the Commons (2006 to 2007), and Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary (2007 to 2010). He was Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1979 to 7 May 2015, when he retired from the Commons. Before becoming an MP, Jack practiced as a Barrister, and then worked as a Special Adviser in the Labour Government of 1974 to 1979. He served on the Opposition Front Bench from 1980 to 1997. He is a Distinguished Fellow of RUSI and a Visiting Professor at University College London School of Public Policy. Since 2015 he has been Chairman of the Blackburn Youth Zone, and from 2017 a Trustee of the Tauheedul Education Trust. He is a Trustee of the Global Strategy Forum and of the Atlantic Partnership. His other publications include: ‘Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor’ (Macmillan: 2012); Hamlyn Lectures 2012 on Law Reform (CUP).

Direct download: 2019.07.10_-_The_English_Job_Understanding_Iran.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:41pm UTC

A round table discussion on the up coming NATO summit between Jonathan Eyal, Malcolm Chalmers and Emily Winterbotham.

Direct download: NATO_Round_Table__Podcast.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:14pm UTC

The Shadow Foreign Secretary addresses RUSI reflecting on the upheaval in the Middle East and challenges for foreign policy.

Direct download: Douglas_Alexander_Second_Go.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:24pm UTC

Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, Commander, NATO Training Mission and Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, on ‘Progress and Challenges to Transition in Afghanistan‘.

The General spoke at RUSI via video link on Friday 23 September 2011. Ten years into the war in Afghanistan, the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) has begun to assume the lead for security of its country. For the past 22 months, the Afghans, alongside the men and women of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), have worked tirelessly to develop their Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to be capable of providing security across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

In his lecture, Lieutenant General Caldwell will discuss how the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, assisted by NTM-A’s security force assistance, have generated capable forces which continue to grow in quality and professionalism.

Direct download: CaldwellRUSIsept2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am UTC Bitish Filmmaker Jon Amiel and leading Hollywood executive Dave Brown take part in the first event of RUSI's Conflict, War and Culture Series. How does the film industry deal with war in the twenty-first century? To what extent is the fantasy violence portrayed in films influencing how we see real wars? Do war films further our understanding of historical events and why do such films come in and out of fashion?

Direct download: amiel_brownFINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:54pm UTC

Do the US and UK have the same level of commitment to NATO?

In remarks to a RUSI audience, Professor Christopher Coker of the London School of Economics explores the relationship with the United States and the commitment of both countries to NATO.

Direct download: cokermay2010.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:45am UTC

The Rise of China

A lecture by the Rt. Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes CH, Chancellor, University of Oxford.

The rise of China is transforming the geopolitical landscape. If current growth rates continue, China is expected to become the world's largest economy by the middle of the century, if not before. Her strong economic growth coupled with substantial financial reserves means that China’s international prestige is high. This economic 'coming of age' is increasingly being recognised by a place at the top table of world leaders. In his lecture, Lord Patten discussed how Britain and Europe should engage with a country that will shortly be once again the largest economy in the world.

The Rt. Hon Lord Patten of Barnes CH has held a number of senior national and international appointments including: Conservative Member of Parliament for Bath (1979 to 1992); Secretary of State for the Environment (1989); Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Chairman of the Conservative Party (1990); Governor of Hong Kong, overseeing the return of Hong Kong to China (1992 to 1997); and European Commissioner for External Relations (1999 to 2004). He was elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 2003.

Direct download: Patten.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:51pm UTC

How will the political parties shape the defence debate?

Watch RUSI Director Professor Michael Clarke, and RUSI's Director of Military Sciences, Michael Codner, offer their assessment on the defence and security issues that may be raised either prior to or immediately after the UK General Election.

Direct download: rusiexpertview.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:14pm UTC

Memo to an incoming government

Part Seven: In the final installment of these interviews, General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, former commander of British forces during Operation Telic and Rear Admiral Chris Parry, former Director General, Development, Concepts & Doctrine, offer their headline advice to an incoming government.

Direct download: q7advice.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:09pm UTC

Are the Armed Forces used as a political football?

Part Six: General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry discuss the nexus between political debate and the consensus on the Armed Forces. 

Direct download: elections_politicalfootball6.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:00pm UTC

What should our spending priorities be on defence?

Part Five: Continuing their interview, General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry outline what the defence spending priorities should be for an incoming government on 6 May. 

Direct download: elections_priorities5.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:59pm UTC

What does the government need to do to uphold the military covenant?

Part Four: Continuing their interview, General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry explore what commitments any government will have to caring for our service men and women.

Direct download: elections_covenant4.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:50pm UTC

Is there a public appetite for defence?

Part Three: Ahead of the British elections on 6 May, senior former military leaders give their assessment of the issues facing defence and security. In this interview, General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry explore the public perception's to Britain's defence.

Direct download: elections_appetite3.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm UTC

Can Britain continue to stay in Afghanistan?

Part Two: Will the next government and the British public have the staying power to complete the job in Afghanistan? Ahead of the British elections on 6 May, senior former military leaders give their assessment of the issues facing defence and security. General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry take part in the interview.

Direct download: elections_stayingpower2.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:26pm UTC

What will Britain's role be in future conflict?

Part One: Ahead of the British elections on 6 May, senior former military leaders give their assessment of the issues facing defence and security. General Sir Mike Jackson, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge and Rear Admiral Chris Parry take part in the interview.

Direct download: elections_futureconflicts.mp4
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:08pm UTC

A Labour Party View of UK Defence Policy

The Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth, Secretary of State for Defence, outlined his party’s policy of defence in advance of the General Election and subsequent Strategic Defence Review.

Bob Ainsworth was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on 5 June 2009. A Coventry trade unionist and former local councillor with strong roots in the city, he was elected Member of Parliament for Coventry North East in 1992. He was a long serving Whip in both Opposition and Government before he was promoted to his first ministerial position after Peter Mandelson's second resignation in January 2001.

He served five months as junior minister in the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and after the General Election he was moved to the Home Office with responsibility for Anti-drugs Co-ordination and Organised Crime. In the reshuffle of June 2003, he returned to the Whips’ Office on promotion to Deputy Chief Whip. He served as Minister of State for the Armed Forces prior to his current appointment.

Direct download: 25.04.10_Bob_Ainsworth.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01pm UTC

A Conservative Party View of UK Defence Policy

The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea, outlined his party’s policy of defence in advance of the General Election and subsequent Strategic Defence Review.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was elected as MP for Pentlands in 1974 and represented that constituency until 1997. He became a member of the Cabinet in 1986 as Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1990 he became Secretary of State for Transport and in 1992 Secretary of State for Defence. From 1995 to 1997 he was Foreign Secretary. He served as the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Welfare Reform until December 2005 when he chose to return to the backbenches. He has been selected to fight the new Kensington constituency at the next General Election.

He has also been active in a number of voluntary organisations. Sir Malcolm is a member of the Dulverton Trust, a Vice President of Combat Stress and a Patron of Raleigh International. He has served on the Court of Edinburgh University and is an honorary colonel. He is also a member of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Royal Company of Archers.

Direct download: 21.04.10_-_Sir_Malcolm_Rifkind.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm UTC

Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike: Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Air Chief Marshal Dike discusses Nigeria's quest for enduring security in Africa, addressing the framework for Nigeria's contribution to peace and security and her role in the regional security architecture.

Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike is currently Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigeria Armed Forces. He is also Chairman of the Committee of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff. His previous posts have included Chief of Air Staff (Nigeria Air Force); Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet; and Commander of the ECOMOG Air Detachment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His awards include the National Honour Award; Forces Service Star and Distinguished Service Star.

For more info:

Direct download: 26.03.10_-_Nigeria_Chief_of_Defence_Staff.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00pm UTC

The Duke of Gloucester Lecture Series: Flood Risk and the Built Environment. Flood Risk Management: Future Directions

A lecture by Robert Runcie, Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management, the Environment Agency, in the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GVCO.

In the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester, RUSI will launch a series of public lectures exploring flood risk and the built environment. The inaugural lecture was given by Robert Runcie, Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency.

The lecture discussed the medium and long-term strategy for managing flood risk and enhancing flood resilience in the United Kingdom and will address the implementation of the recommendations made by The Pitt Review. This formal presentation was followed by a panel discussion in which members of the Inter Institutional Flood Risk Management Group posed questions to Mr Runcie, following which the discussion will be opened up to the wider audience.

Direct download: 15.03.10_DGLS.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00am UTC

The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies and The Art Fund, Britain’s leading art charity, held a reception and debate on the topic of “Commemorating our Armed Forces: Remembrance in a Modern Society”.

Set against the backdrop of the Wootton Bassett phenomenon, a high-profile panel of speakers will came together to discuss our country’s historical approach to remembrance, and whether there is more we could be doing to honour those British servicemen and women who have died in armed conflicts.

Chaired by Channel 4 television presenter, Jon Snow, the debate heard contributions from:

  • Former UK Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt GCB CBE MC
  • Director General of the Imperial War Museum, Diane Lees
  • Director-General of the Royal British Legion, Chris Simpkin
  • Artist and Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, David Cotterrell
Direct download: 10.03.10_RUSI_Art_Fund.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:39am UTC

William Hague at RUSI 10 Mar 2009

An address by The Rt Hon William Hague MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Senior Member of the Shadow Cabinet.

As the date of the General Election approaches and the electoral campaign is about to begin, Mr Hague addressed members of the Institute on his party’s foreign policy priorities.

Direct download: williamHague_RUSI_090310.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00pm UTC

Bill Rammell MPA lecture by Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, UK.

Defence is acting to reflect the values of modern society in the way it does business. In his lecture, Bill Rammell addressed the issue of how the UK's Armed Forces can adapt to changes in society and meet the needs of service personnel and their families while maintaining ethos, spirit and effectiveness.

Direct download: BillRammell_RUSI_08.03.10
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:24pm UTC

Dr Liam Fox MPA lecture by Dr Liam Fox MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and Conservative Member of Parliament for Woodspring.

In his lecture, Dr Fox addressed the challenges the next government is likely to confront while attempting to carry out a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). He discussed the strategic thinking on which the foundation of a future Conservative government review will be based, the structure of the review and specifically how the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will carry out its role in the SDSR process to best prepare the MoD for the challenges of the Twenty-first Century.

Direct download: LiamFox_RUSI__08.02.10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:21pm UTC

A lecture by the Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP, Secretary of State for Defence.

Bob Ainsworth discussed the progress being made in Afghanistan, addressing issues of operational welfare and support to troops on operations. He also set out the government’s commitment to Armed Forces personnel in general, including mapping out the implementation of the Service Personnel Command Paper published last year.

Direct download: 17.02.09_RUSI_BobAinsworth.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm UTC

Sir Bill Jeffrey KCB - The Challenges Facing Defence

A lecture by Sir Bill Jeffrey KCB, Permanent Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, UK.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently published a Strategy for Defence. This strategy, focused on the period to 2014, maps out the path to the Defence Review which will take place after the General Election. The immediate goals are clear, even before we undertake a review; we have to succeed in Afghanistan, and any other contingent operations we are asked to undertake in the years ahead; we need to continue to meet our standing tasks against direct threats to the UK and overseas territories, including provision of the UK's independent nuclear deterrent. 

Sir Bill Jeffrey detailed the crucial role that people across defence, both military and civilian, play in tackling these challenges.

Direct download: Sir_Bill_Jeffrey_Lecture_09.12.09.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm UTC

Annual Chief of the Defence Staff Lecture On 3 December 2009 Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, UK Ministry of Defence addressed RUSI members on the UK's operational commitments in Afghanistan. In his annual lecture to the Royal United Services Institute in London, the Chief of the Defence Staff said the Taliban could not win in Afghanistan. But the international coalition could fail if it lost its nerve. He said: 'The Taliban is not going to defeat us militarily, but we want the same patience, courage and discipline that soldiers show here from the public at home.'
Direct download: CDSlecture2009.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm UTC

Alan Doss, Head of MONUC, on UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Direct download: Alan_Doss_at_RUSI.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:26pm UTC

How the Armed Forces contribute to Britain's counter-terrorism strategy

On 3 August, Bill Rammell MP gave his first speech as Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Speaking at a RUSI Members’ Lecture chaired by RUSI Vice President Sir David Omand. The Minister used his debut to highlight the defence contribution to UK and international security.

The Minister outlined how the UK Armed Forces are defending the UK's security interests in Afghanistan and those operations fit in with the UK's wider counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. He stressed that the vast majority of the Muslim community was appalled by terrorist groups like Al-Qa’ida and that Islam was being used as a mere ‘smoke-screen’ to carry out extremist aims. Indeed, he stressed the support of the Afghan people for the mission and conceded that rather than an imposition of Western values on the country, the campaign aims to provide a more secure future for Afghanistan. Ultimately, the Minister remained optimistic about UK efforts on the campaign, and although he conceded that counter-terrorism efforts could not take place solely by military intervention, he valued the input of the Armed Forces in maintaining UK security.

Direct download: Rammell_RUSI_3_08_09.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:12pm UTC

From the Archives - Robert McNamara at RUSI As the death of former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara is announced, publishes remarks made by him at the Royal United Services Institute in 2001.

Taking part in a conference on nuclear deterrence organised in conjunction with the Oxford Research Group, Mr McNamara reflected on his own portrayal in the film, Thirteen Days, which explored the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The former US Defense Secretary then went on to reveal his role during this tumultous time in international security

Direct download: RUSI_McNamara_2001.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:01pm UTC

The Challenges to Western Engagement with Iran

At the award of the 2009 Westminster Medal for Military Literature, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman delivered a lecture that illustrated the consequences of difficult choices in framing America's foreign policy towards Iran. Drawing upon his research into President Carter"s response to the events of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Professor Freedman provided historical comparison to the current US administration’s response to the recent political turmoil in Iran. For further information about Medal, visit:

Direct download: DOWM2009.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm UTC

US and UK Army Chiefs speak at RUSI about the evolution and the challenges to their respective service Outgoing British Army Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt outlines the British Army’s analysis of recent conflicts and the lessons drawn for future conflict. And US Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, provides an insight into the US Army’s transformation to meet the challenges of twenty-first century warfare. More presentations found at:
Direct download: Dannatt_Casey_RUSI_23Jun09.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:23pm UTC

Approaching Iran and the Greater Middle East As Iran chooses between incumbent Ahmedinejad and opposition favourite Mir Hossein Mousavi, a RUSI panel discusses the implications the result will have for international security. What will this mean for President Obama's new posture towards the Middle East? Chaired by Christopher Dickey, Paris Bureau Chief, Middle East Regional Editor, Newsweek International. Speakers: Malcolm Chalmers, Professorial Fellow, RUSI; Sir Richard Dalton, Former UK Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran; and Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow and Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation. The Panel spoke at the RUSI Global Leadership Forum
Direct download: RUSI_GLF_IranPanel09.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:27pm UTC

RUSI Events Podcasts: Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih on future propects

Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Barham Salih, speaks at RUSI on his country’s recent past and future prospects. Five years from now, he predicts, Iraq will be a dynamic, democratic and economically vibrant presence in the heart of the Middle East.

Watch the news report here:
Direct download: IRAQIDPM1MAY2009.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:07pm UTC

Annual Chief of the Defence Staff Lecture 2008 Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup takes stock of issues affecting Britain's armed forces in his annual address to RUSI members as the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Direct download: CDS2008.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:18pm UTC

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Ahead of a crucial Defence Ministerial in London, Secretary General of NATO, Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer spoke at RUSI and gave a wide-ranging exposition on the key issues facing the transatlantic alliance.
Direct download: Take01.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:30pm UTC

Rear Admiral Chris Parry at RUSI Rear Admiral Chris Parry, speaking at RUSI, discusses the extent to which UK strategic thinking, procurement and training are distorted by short-term perspectives and hampered by institutional practices that are highly resistant to innovation and change.
Direct download: Take11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:34pm UTC

Lord Owen on ‘In Sickness and In Power' The Rt. Hon. Lord Owen delivers a lecture at RUSI detailing how some political leaders’ ill-conceived decisions are often connected to their own illnesses.
Direct download: LordOwen_2Sept08_RUSI.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:24am UTC

General Sir Richard Dannatt at RUSI The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, explained the way in which the Army has not only adapted to the challenges that it faces today but also, how it will transform in contact to meet the challenges in ten years time.
Direct download: Dannatt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:27pm UTC

General Kip Ward at RUSI General William ‘Kip’ Ward (Commander, AFRICOM) delivered the keynote address which opened the AFRICOM and US-Africa Relations conference, 18 February 2008, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute.
Direct download: KipWardRUSI.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:29am UTC

Pervez Musharraf at RUSI Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf spoke at RUSI about the challenges Pakistan has faced in recent years and how he envisioned the future of his country and the region. The speech was given while Mr Musharraf was President of Pakistan.
Direct download: MusharrafatRUSI.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:48am UTC

Annual Chief of the Defence Staff Lecture 2007 Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup takes stock of issues affecting Britain's armed forces in his annual address to RUSI members as the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Direct download: Chief_of_Defence_Staff_Annual_Lect.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:17am UTC

Michael Clarke - Strategy and Fortune: British Security Policy in Transition RUSI Director Michael Clarke's Inaugural Lecture analyses the themes underlying a decade of Labour's security policy and the vacillating perceptions of its success and failure, and suggests some of the directions that security policy might take.
Direct download: Michael_Clarke_Speech.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:16am UTC

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair at RUSI
Direct download: BlairatRUSI.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:19am UTC

Gordon Brown at RUSI Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech at RUSI concerning key policy perspectives UK national security. The Prime Minister urged a united, resolute, and long-term stance against terrorism. However, a tough approach to combat terror using new powers also demanded stringent accountability to Parliament.
Direct download: GordonBrownRUSI.MP3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:43pm UTC

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