July 12, 2017, 12:30 pm - March 27, 2023, 1:26 pm


Middle East Insitute
1319 18th St. NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

Countering Iran's growing influence in the broader Middle East is a major goal of the Trump Administration. President Trump forcefully reinforced this policy on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel. But what does this mean? The administration has so far upheld the JCPOA with Iran and tolerated Iranian-backed proxies in the fight against ISIS in Iraq. Iran, meanwhile, has continued to build up its conventional military and missile capacities and doubled down on its asymmetric military networks in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. U.S. bombs have struck Iranian-backed militias propping up the Assad regime in Syria. Is U.S. policy changing?

The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosted a conference titled Challenges in U.S. Iran Policy, which aimed to examine and assess the outlines of U.S. policy toward Iran, addressing its overall goals, the strategies being pursued, and the measurement of failure and success.

Anthony Cordesman

Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, CSIS
Anthony Cordesman is the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cordesman is the author of a wide range of studies on U.S. security policy, energy policy, and Middle East policy and has served as a consultant to the Departments of State and Defense during the Afghan and Iraq wars. Cordesman formerly served as national security assistant to Senator John McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee, as director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as civilian assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. He has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service medal, is a former adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, and has twice been a Wilson fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

Suzanne Maloney

The Brookings Institution
Suzanne Maloney is deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow in the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy and Energy Security and Climate Initiative, where her research focuses on Iran and Persian Gulf energy. She is the editor of Markaz, a blog on politics in and policy toward the Middle East published by the Brookings Institution. Her books include the 2008 monograph "Iran's Long Reach" (United States Institute of Peace, 2008) as well as "Iran's Political Economy since the Revolution," published in August 2015 by Cambridge University Press. Her Brookings Essay, "Iran Surprises Itself And The World," was released in September 2013, and she has also published articles in a variety of academic and policy journals. Maloney previously served as an external advisor to senior State Department officials on long-term issues related to Iran. Before joining Brookings, she served on the secretary of state's policy planning staff, as Middle East advisor for ExxonMobil Corporation, and director of the 2004 Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on U.S. policy toward Iran, chaired by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Admiral (ret.) James “Sandy” Winnefeld

Board Member, Raytheon Corporation
Admiral James Winnefeld, U.S. Navy, retired, served until July 2015 as the ninth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the second highest-ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces. After 37 years of service in the Navy, Winnefeld currently sits on the board of directors at the Raytheon Company and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, as well as a distinguished professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. During his career in uniform Winnefeld served as commander of the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).