Iran’s Missile Program in Perspective

February 20, 2018 - 9:00 am

Washington, DC
                                     WATCH HERE

The Atlantic Council's Future of Iran Initiative invites you to a panel discussion on Iran’s missile program, its role in Iranian defense strategy and as a source of tension in the region and beyond. While the primary threat posed by the program stems from its potential connection to Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s neighbors and the United States are also concerned about the transfer of shorter-range rockets to Iranian-backed militant groups in Yemen and Lebanon. The Trump administration has raised the issue as a “flaw” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is discussing a possible side agreement with key European nations that would include missiles. Iran has rejected changes to the JCPOA and views the missile program as an essential element of its military doctrine, a means of deterrence and a tool of statecraft.

The discussion will be held February 20, 2018 from 9:00 to 10:30 am at the Atlantic Council. The event is open to press and on the record. 

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

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info

The event is open to press and on the record. 


A conversation with:

Aaron Stein
Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Michael Elleman

Senior Fellow for Missile Defense
The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Melissa Dalton
Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, International Security Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Moderated by:
Bharath Gopalaswamy
Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council


Aaron Stein is a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. His research interests include US-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, the Syrian conflict, nonproliferation, and the Iranian nuclear program. Dr. Stein was previously a doctoral fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, an associate fellow for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and a researcher with the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). He also worked as a consultant for the International Crisis Group in Istanbul and has published articles and reports on Turkey's nuclear capabilities and Turkish elections. Dr. Stein holds a BA in politics from the University of San Francisco and an MA in international policy studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Stein received his PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean studies at Kings College, London.

Michael Elleman is senior fellow for Missile Defense at the IISS, and the principal author of the IISS Strategic Dossier Iran's Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A net assessment, as well as numerous articles on missile proliferation and US-NATO-Russian cooperation on missile defense. Presently, he leads an effort to further assess Iran's asymmetric military capabilities and is exploring mechanisms for promoting regional security cooperation in the Gulf, while continuing research on the missile and space programmes of North Korea and Iran. Before joining the IISS, Elleman spent five years at Booz Allen Hamilton, a US consulting firm, where he supported the implementation of Cooperative Threat Reduction programmes sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. He also provided weapons proliferation analyses to the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office (ASCO) at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Previously, he spent 18 months at the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) as a missile expert for weapons inspection missions in Iraq. He is a graduate of physics from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Melissa Dalton is a senior fellow and deputy director of the CSIS International Security Program (ISP). Her research focuses on security cooperation with allies and partners, US defense policy in the Middle East, and global US defense strategy and policy. As deputy director, she advises the director of ISP on a broad range of strategic issues and manages the daily operations of ISP. Prior to joining CSIS in 2014, she served in a number of policy and intelligence positions at the US Department of Defense for 10 years. Ms. Dalton holds a BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Bharath Gopalaswamy is the director of the South Asia Center. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, Gopalaswamy managed the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he oversaw developing projects on South Asian security issues. He has held research appointments with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and with Cornell University's Judith Reppy Institute of Peace and Conflict studies. Dr. Gopalaswamy holds a PhD in mechanical engineering with a specialization in numerical acoustics from Trinity College, Dublin. In addition to his studies abroad, he has previously worked at the Indian Space Research Organization's High Altitude Test Facilities and the EADS Astrium GmbH division in Germany.