The January assassination of Qassem Soleimani shocked the leadership in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had not expected the United States to escalate tensions between the two countries in such a manner. The assassination of Soleimani was an effort to change Tehran’s strategic calculations and policies for the Middle East. With continued sanctions imposed by the United States, regional tension, and the loss of a key decision maker, Iran is facing intensified challenges to achieve its goals at home and in the region. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome a group of experts to assess Iranian policy towards the Arab world following the death of Soleimani and to discuss how Arab states are reacting to Iran’s actions.
How has Iran’s strategy in the Arab world performed following Soleimani’s death? In what ways have proxy forces in the Middle East that operate under Tehran’s command been affected? Who is left to make key decisions about the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the Arab states, and are we faced with a weaker IRGC Quds force after Soleimani? Finally, what do Arabs think of Iranian policies aimed at them?
Author and broadcaster
Middle East fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Journalist and editor, Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Alex Vatanka, moderator
Director, Iran program and senior fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative, MEI
Photo by Pool/Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images