After the Embargo: Iran's Weapons Agenda and Its Regional Impact



October 15, 2020:
Speakers: Ali Alfoneh, David B. Des Roches, Kirsten Fontenrose, Hussein Ibish (Moderator)

The Trump administration has been seeking to extend the United Nations-mandated arms embargo against Iran, which is due to expire October 18. These restrictions were imposed in July 2007, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program. However, under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement that was reached in July 2015, all parties, including the United States, agreed that the embargo would expire in 2020. Washington has withdrawn from the agreement and is threatening to impose unilateral sanctions on foreign companies that engage in such sales even if the embargo lapses later in October.

With Washington failing to rally support to extend the embargo within the international community, what are the prospects for renewed arms restrictions or sales, and is there any chance left that the embargo will be extended? What weapons system will Iran work to acquire if restrictions lapse, and will Russia, China, or others seek to become Iran’s main arms suppliers? What are the risks of newly acquired weapons systems making their way to Tehran’s proxies further destabilizing the region? What options does the United States have and will Washington find itself further isolated or reinforcing its unilateral power, or both? And what will the impact of these developments be on Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors?

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