How Iran Will Cope with US Sanctions

November 7, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Washington, DC
On November 5, 2018, the United States is slated to re-impose a second set of punitive sanctions on Iran designed to reduce its oil exports to zero and cut off its banks from any contacts with non-US financial institutions. Coming three months after a first tranche of sanctions and six months after the Trump administration quit the Iran nuclear deal, the mere threat of US punitive measures has already had a harsh impact on the Iranian economy. However, Iran has seen this movie before – during an earlier bout of sanctions imposed in 2012 – at a time when US policy had far greater support from other world powers. The panel will discuss how effective sanctions are now and what coping mechanisms Iran has employed in the past to survive sanctions. A new issue brief on the topic, by the Atlantic Council’s Holly Dagres and Barbara Slavin, will also be discussed.

The discussion will be held November 7, 2018 from noon-1:30 pm at the Atlantic Council. The event is open to press and on the record. 

On Twitter? Follow @ACSouthAsia @ACIranSource and use #ACIran

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC

This event is open to press and on the record. 

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info


A conversation with:
Holly Dagres
Nonresident Fellow, Middle East Security Initiative
 Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

Atlantic Council

David Mortlock
Nonresident Fellow, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Elizabeth Rosenberg
Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program
Center for a New American Security

Meredith Sumpter
Head of Research Strategy & Operations
The Eurasia Group

Moderated by:
Barbara Slavin
Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council


Holly Dagres is a nonresident fellow with the Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She is also the editor of Scowcroft Center’s IranSource blog and curator for the weekly newsletter, The Iranist. Before joining the Atlantic Council, Holly worked as a freelance Iran analyst, regularly following traditional and social media in English and Persian. She also worked as the assistant editor at the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, associated with the American University in Cairo’s Global Affairs and Public Policy School. Holly received a master’s degree in political science at the American University in Cairo, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2013, she conducted on-the-ground research in Iran on the impact of sanctions for her master’s degree thesis.

David Mortlock is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. He is the chair of the Global Trade & Investment Group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where he focuses on sanctions, export controls, and other international trade issues. Previously, he was director for international economic affairs at the White House National Security Council. He has served in various positions at the Department of State, including deputy coordinator for sanctions policy and attorney-adviser for sanctions and terror finance. David was centrally involved in the development of the sanctions programs for Russia and Iran, including restrictions on those countries' energy sectors.  He also worked to ease the sanctions programs for Burma and Cuba.

Elizabeth Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. In this capacity, she publishes and speaks on the national security and foreign policy implications of energy market shifts and the use of sanctions and economic statecraft. She has testified before Congress on energy and financial issues and been quoted widely by leading media outlets in the United States and abroad. From May 2009 through September 2013, Rosenberg served as a senior advisor at the US Department of the Treasury, to the assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, and then to the undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. In these senior roles she helped to develop and implement financial and energy sanctions. Key initiatives she helped to oversee include the tightening of global sanctions on Iran and North Korea, the launching of new, comprehensive sanctions against Libya and Syria and modification of Burma sanctions in step with normalization of diplomatic relations. She also helped to formulate anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policy and oversee financial regulatory enforcement activities. 

Meredith Sumpter is head of research strategy & operations at the Eurasia Group. She has more than fifteen years of experience in policy, analysis, business, and management. She leads the firm’s research management, strategy, and operations, in addition to her global advisory work with an emphasis on Asia. Meredith is a leading strategic thinker on global politics and foreign policy, regularly speaking at conferences and to the media. Her experience is steeped in both politics and strategy, spanning multiple regions and sectors including information and communication technologies, media and public relations, fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, banking and finance, and commodities. Meredith joined Eurasia Group after leading strategic advisory for Fortune 500 clients across Asia, including in Indonesia, India, and China. Prior to that, she served as a diplomat, including in Beijing, where she advised two US ambassadors and analyzed politics, economics, and security issues for the policy community. She has held positions at the Asia Foundation and the International Crisis Group, as well as in the US Senate.

Barbara Slavin is the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and a columnist for, a website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN.A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of the Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo correspondent for the Economist, and as an editor at the New York Times Week in Review. She has covered such key foreign policy issues as the US-led war on terrorism, policy toward "rogue" states, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has traveled to Iran nine times. Slavin also served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she wrote Bitter Friends, and as a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote the report Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East.