Crisis in the Gulf

Tehran’s decision to stop compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the United States “maximum pressure” campaign to isolate Iran and force it to the negotiating table for a new deal have sent tensions spiraling in the Gulf. Throughout 2019, drone attacks and ship seizures in the Strait of Hormuz have threatened to destabilize the region and trigger wider conflict. Read all the latest Atlantic Council work on the crisis in the Gulf and wider US-Iranian tensions.

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Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Faysal Itani

Nonresident Senior Fellow

Barbara Slavin

Director, Future of Iran Initiative

Future of Iran Initiative

Past events

Mon, Jul 29, 2019

Avenues for managing the escalating crisis in the Gulf

On July 30, the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Arabia Foundation held a discussion unpacking the recent pattern of escalation with Iran in the Gulf, the US and regional policy response, and what comes next.


Thu, May 30, 2019

Russia’s resurgence in the Middle East: How does US policy meet the challenge?

Atlantic Council Middle East Programs Director William Wechsler gave introductory remarks before the keynote address by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger.


Fri, Apr 26, 2019

My star in the sky: Movie screening and reception

The film depicts a story of survival, friendship, and love between two child soldiers abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) during the conflict between Uganda and Sudan.



Tue, Apr 9, 2019

Dagres Joins BBC to Discuss US Labels Iranian Military Unit as Terrorists

Listen to the full discussion here

In the News by Holly Dagres


Thu, Mar 21, 2019

Dagres Quoted in Middle East Eye on Smuggling Along the Iran-Pakistan Border

Read the full article here

In the News by Holly Dagres

Iran Pakistan

Thu, Mar 7, 2019

UK’s Hezbollah Ban May Signal Tougher Stance on Iran

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah once dubbed dividing his group into distinct political and military wings an “English innovation.” Yet, last week, the United Kingdom decided to end this mainstay of British policy. Shortly after Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced a total ban on Hezbollah, Parliament amended the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 to proscribe the group “in its entirety.” London’s acknowledgment of Hezbollah’s unity […]

IranSource by David Daoud

Iran Middle East

Wed, Feb 13, 2019

Trump’s Iran Policy: Much Ado About Nothing

The Trump administration’s policy of containing and weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran may appear to be going well to causal observers of Iranian affairs, and there is some evidence to support such a view. The United States has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action […]

IranSource by Pooya Dayanim


Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Facing Reality: Europe’s Special Purpose Vehicle Will Not Challenge US Sanctions

The European Union on January 31 formally announced its long-awaited special purpose vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran, called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).  Predictably, the SPV won’t seek to challenge US sanctions by attempting to conduct sanctionable trade with Iran as had been originally floated, and will instead focus on non-sanctionable trade, including […]

IranSource by Brian O'Toole

European Union International Organizations

Tue, Jan 29, 2019

Glimmer of Hope in Iran for Long-Persecuted Baha’is?

The Iranian constitution after the 1979 revolution provides limited freedoms for religious minorities, and it does not recognize the Baha’i community, with more than 300,000 members in the country. Instead, for four decades, the Islamic Republic has routinely harassed, prosecuted, and imprisoned Baha’is solely for practicing their faith. Among other things, the government severely restricts Baha’is […]

IranSource by Tara Sepehri Far


Fri, Jan 25, 2019

Israel and Iran Exchange Blows in Syria: A View From Israel

The January 20 Israeli attack on an Iranian weapons shipment delivery near the Damascus airport in Syria led to a quick and exceptional succession of events that could have easily brought both sides to the brink of war.  Iran reacted with a missile launch at the Golan Heights. Israel then responded with an attack on […]

IranSource by Shemuel Meir

Iran Israel

Wed, Jan 16, 2019

Iranian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Is a Plea for Basic Rights

This week, two well-known political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison went on a three-day hunger strike to protest their inability to get urgent medical treatment.  Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender serving a ten-year sentence for her peaceful activism, suffers from a serious neurological disease that causes muscular paralysis. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian dual national serving a […]

IranSource by Tara Sepehri Far

Thu, Jan 10, 2019

Pompeo: The United States is a ‘Force for Good’ in the Middle East

"Secretary Pompeo’s speech will be greeted with dismay—although not surprise—from most of the Middle East," said Nicholas Blanford, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow with the Middle East Security Initiative.

New Atlanticist by Ashish Kumar Sen

Defense Policy Extremism

Fri, Dec 21, 2018

Mattis heads for the exit

While Trump wrote in a tweet that his defense secretary was “retiring” at the end of February; Mattis made clear he was resigning over policy differences with the president.

New Atlanticist by Ashish Kumar Sen