After four years of the “maximum pressure” campaign from the previous administration, does new leadership in Washington and Tehran signal an opportunity for a thawing of relations between the two countries? Or, does the election of conservative Ebrahim Raisi signal Iran’s desire for a more assertive foreign policy that will challenge the U.S.?
Chief among the concerns of the Biden administration’s foreign policy team is the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Negotiated by the Obama administration and famously exited by Trump, President Biden’s commitment to reviving the JCPOA remains unclear. In the meantime, how far is Iran’s nuclear program from a break-out point? And how should the U.S. respond if it does?
While a nuclear Iran is a potential threat, Iran’s current support for numerous militias and terror groups in the region including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Yemen’s Houthis, pro-Iran Syrian forces, and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces remains a potent threat and a stumbling block to improved relations between the two nations.
Due to perceived asymmetry in the JCPOA, Iran is looking to retool its economy to be sanction-resistant and Asia-focused. Can Iran succeed in blunting the devastation wrought by sanctions? If so, what tools remain in the U.S. toolkit for punishing Iran for noncompliance with the JCPOA?
These questions and more will be addressed by a distinguished panel of experts including Behnam Ben Taleblu from the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, Michael Singh managing director at The Washington Institute, and veteran journalist Greg Dobbs moderating.
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