A delegation from Hungarian Institute of International Affairs visited CSR on 24 April 2012. It consisted of Ms Erzsebet N. Rozsa, senior leaturer and Mr Istran Balogh, junior lecturer. They participated in a roundtable in the Foreign Policy Research Department of CSR and expressed their views on "Arab Spring" and "Iran – US Relations".

First, Dr Vaezi, head of Foreign Policy Research Department, referring to the two topics of discussion and their importance, made some points on each of them. As for "Arab Spring", Dr Vaezi stated that the future of the Middle East would be determined by increasing people's participation and the role of Islamic groups in the political process. He said that Arab countries affected by recent transformations  would not follow imported models for governing, rather they would develop their own model. Regarding Iran – US relations, Dr Vaezi said that the most important obstacle on the way of rapprochement between Iran and the United States is that both sides cannot find a common language. However, there are many common interests which can constitute a basis for solving the differences. Regional cooperation and the issue of energy security are among these mutual interests. However, progress in this way will be very difficult. It is worth noting that Israel and some Arab countries have interest in the continuation of animosity between Iran and the U.S.

Then, Ms. Erzsebet N. Rozsa expressed her views on "Arab Spring". First, she briefly referred to the history of relations between Hungary and the Middle East and the developments of Hungarian foreign policy. She maintained that "Arab Spring" is characterized by four trends: First, Arab world will experience a long transition period due to a protracted political process. Consequently, it will become poorer in economic terms, but will enjoy greater political freedom.

Second, much more attention will be paid to public. Reform will be placed on the political agenda of most Arab countries and Arab societies will become more open to civil institutions. That would be a new kind of attitude and is to be welcomed in the West.

Third, Islam enters political circles, not under Islamism that is interpreted as radical tendencies, rather under its moderate form. Therefore, it will be easier for Europe to come to terms with Islamic currents. In the past, Europe could not accommodate Islamist groups which were active in Arab societies considering them radical or fundamentalist. Fourth, we witness the revival of Arab nationalism. Arab people in the countries affected by Arab spring, are proud of their achievements. The notion of Arab nation – states has been reinforced. She concluded that neither Iranian nor Turkish models are convenient for Arab Societes, because each society has its own characteristics.

After that Mr Istvan Balogh addressed the issue of Iran – US relations. He enumerated the main reasons for Iran – US conflict. These are first, the lack of understanding between the two sides; second, domestic issues in both countries, it can be said that both sides are hostages to their own political circumstances; third, collision of national interests, in which the role of values is important. He said that the foreign policies of both countries have been formed on the basis of value – based pragmatism. Then, he pointed to some converging interests which can be conducive to a deal between Iran and the U.S. These common interests include Arab – Israeli peace process, regional issues and Persian Gulf security mechanisms. He maintained that only inclusive initiatives could be successful. He concludes with advancing three scenarios regarding Iran – US relations: Confrontation, which is very unlikely; continuation of status quo, which is quite likely; and reconciliation, which is less likely. In the final part of the session, the two speakers answered the questions posed by participants.