Navigating Gulf Waters After the Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran's Maritime Provocations and Challenges for U.S. Policy

Following the implementation of the JCPOA, tensions remain high in the Gulf. Even with inferior naval assets, Iran chooses to provoke its neighbors with asymmetric tactics. The United States must balance fostering the progress of renewed diplomatic relations with Iran, while easing friction among its Gulf partners. Preventing miscommunication, miscalculation, and dangerous provocation should be a priority. Policy prescriptions such as building tactical communication channels, developing crisis-management mechanisms, and enforcing rules of engagement in the Gulf will assist in this effort. Militarily, the U.S. must enhance its current force posture to deter aggressive activities in the Gulf, including conducting multilateral exercises with its allies and partners,  promoting the acquisition of missile defense systems by GCC countries. Utilizing this multipronged approach will mitigate the risk of unintended conflict in the Gulf.

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