Iran--Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change

This report analyzes four key aspects of US and Iranian strategic competition--sanctions, energy, arms control, and regime change. Its primary focus is on the ways in which the sanctions applied to Iran have changed US and Iranian competition since the fall of 2011. This escalation has been spurred by the creation of a series of far stronger US unilateral sanctions and the European Union’s imposition of equally strong sanctions, both of which affect Iran’s ability to export, its financial system, and its overall economy. The analysis includes the recent P5+1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

The volume has been spurred by Iran’s ongoing missile deployments and nuclear program, as reported in sources like the November 2011 IAEA report that highlights the probable military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Additional contributing factors include Iranian rhetoric; Iranian threats to “close” the Gulf to oil traffic; increased support of the Quds Force, pro-Shiite governments, and non-state actors; and incidents like the Iranian-sponsored assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the US, an Iranian government instigated mob attack on the British Embassy in Tehran on November 30, 2011, and the Iranian-linked attacks against Israeli diplomats.

Anthony H. Cordesman

Anthony H. Cordesman

Former Emeritus Chair in Strategy

Bryan Gold and Chloe Coughlin-Schulte