The United States, Its Allies, and Iran

The Middle East Policy Council’s 75th Capitol Hill Conference has concluded. The video is available below, along with a press recap and transcript. To receive invitations to future events, click here, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To view our recent Capitol Hill Conferences, click here.


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January 28, 2014. 9:30am – 12:00pm EST
Rayburn House Office Building Gold Room (2168)


David Albright

Founder & President, Institute for Science and International Security


Frederic C. Hof

Former Ambassador and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Transition in Syria; Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center, Atlantic Council


Richard LeBaron

Former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait; Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center, Atlantic Council


Anthony H. Cordesman

Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic & International Studies


Ford M. Fraker

President, Middle East Policy Council; Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia


Thomas R. Mattair

Executive Director, Middle East Policy Council



The U.S., Its Middle East Allies & Iran: What is the Way Forward?


Experts Review U.S. Relationships in the Region After Interim Nuclear Deal in Geneva


WASHINGTON, January 28, 2014 – The Middle East Policy Council’s 75th Capitol Hill Conference convened four experts with in-depth practical experience in the region to assess how American national interests and those of its main regional allies have been affected by the interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France + Germany). Their remarks focused primarily on the Gulf States, Israel and Syria, analyzing the political, economic and military factors at play in these states and how they interact with the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1.

The event panelists included David Albright (Institute for Science and International Security); Frederic Hof and Richard LeBaron (The Atlantic Council); and Anthony Cordesman (Center for Strategic and International Studies). Ford M. Fraker, president of the Middle East Policy Council, moderated the event and Thomas R. Mattair, executive director of the Council, was a discussant. More specific remarks from the panelists:

• David Albright recounted his experience as a weapons inspector in highlighting the impact of sanctions on Iran’s decision making and rejected a “false dichotomy” between war and negotiations with Iran. In his view, sanctions work and the U.S. should not accept a final deal without Iran’s agreeing to a major reduction in the number of centrifuges.

• Frederic Hof focused on Syria and the vital importance of Assad’s regime to Iran in providing a channel to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Iran’s main deterrent against Israeli military aggression. He explained how Iran was arming Syrian Shiite groups to hedge against a possible Assad collapse, but that generally Iran felt the “storm had passed” there.

• Richard LeBaron spoke about the importance of discussion to develop a clear understanding of our defense relationships with our Arab Gulf allies. He also reviewed the divergent positions of GCC member states, with countries like Kuwait and Qatar unwilling to risk their security by antagonizing Iran.

• Anthony Cordesman emphasized the importance of asymmetric capabilities for Iran given their outdated military equipment and inability to access newer conventional arms due to sanctions. Moreover, this reality — combined with an enhanced U.S. military posture in the Gulf – explains the deep strategic value of Iran’s nuclear program.

An edited video by speaker, including a full transcript from the event will be posted in a few days at and published in the next issue of the journal Middle East Policy. The full video from the event is already available on the Middle East Policy Council website.

Contacts: For interviews or other content associated with this event, please contact Rebecca Anderson – (202) 296 6767 –

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