The concurrent crises of COVID-19 and tumbling oil prices are deeply felt across the Gulf region. The U.S.-led sanctions, already a huge burden on Iran’s economy, massively limit Tehran’s foreign trade options and export revenue as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the country’s economic troubles. On the other hand, the energy-exporting states of the Gulf Cooperation Council are facing a steep decline in oil and gas export revenues for the foreseeable future. These economic shocks coincide with a sharp and a financially expensive competition for influence across the Middle East.
How might the present deteriorating economic realities impact the geopolitical calculations of Iran, the GCC states, and U.S. interests in the Gulf region? Will the economic downturn shape the willingness of the GCC states to stand with the Trump administration in confronting Tehran leading up to the US elections in November? Is there any opportunity for Iran and the GCC states to consider a reset in relations that have been contentious since 1979. MEI is pleased to host a panel to discuss these questions and more.
Director general, B'huth
Fellow, The Century Foundation
Senior fellow and director, Defense and Security program, MEI
Alex Vatanka, moderator
Senior fellow and director, Iran program, MEI