About the program

The US-Iranian relationship has experienced significant challenges over the past forty years. The lack of diplomatic relations, changes in both the US and Iranian administrations, repeated US military interventions in the region as well as Iran’s support for militant groups and increasingly harsh rhetoric on both sides have further undermined chances for reconciliation. Through a balanced approach of engagement and containment, there is a need to push back against Iranian intervention while promoting US interests, regional conflict resolution, and the well-being of the Iranian people.

The Atlantic Council Iran Program convenes experts, policy makers, activists and other key stakeholders to discuss US policy toward Iran and Iran’s policies toward the US. We provide pragmatic recommendations for a more constructive US-Iran relationship that addresses the current security challenges facing the US and its allies and the security and socio-economic challenges facing Iran. We aim to preserve channels to Iranian officials and civil society through Track II dialogues and to engage Europeans officials and analysts on ways to maintain open channels of communication.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Past events

Fri, Sep 13, 2019

Hizballah and Iran’s Illicit Financial Networks

Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea will discuss the latest efforts to counter Iranian illicit financial networks and Hizballah in the Levant, Gulf, and Latin America.

10:00am Washington DC

Mon, Jul 29, 2019

Avenues for managing the escalating crisis in the Gulf

On July 30, the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Arabia Foundation held a discussion unpacking the recent pattern of escalation with Iran in the Gulf, the US and regional policy response, and what comes next.


Mon, Jul 22, 2019

Beyond control: Iran and its opponents locked in a lopsided confrontation

Atlantic Council hosted a panel discussion on July 22 that also marked the release of a new issue brief, “Beyond Control: Iran and its Opponents Locked in a Lopsided Confrontation.”


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Mon, Sep 16, 2019

From overtures for US talks to threats of war with Iran

Rejected again and embarrassed by the escalation in the Persian Gulf his policies have incentivized, Trump is likely to make similar belligerent comments this year and US-Iran relations will only worsen.

IranSource by Barbara Slavin

Iran Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Sep 5, 2019

Fighting corruption or just more political infighting in Iran?

A new crackdown on corruption in the Islamic Republic is roiling the country’s political elite and could have implications for the succession to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

IranSource by Tahereh Hadian-Jazy


Tue, Sep 3, 2019

Iran counters ‘Maximum Pressure’ by reaching out to the Kurds

Sensing the immense geopolitical challenges Iran is facing, these Kurdish groups—which seek autonomy through armed struggle—might be testing the waters amid mounting regional pressure on Tehran.

IranSource by Tamer Badawi

Crisis Management Iran

Fri, Aug 30, 2019

Iran issues rare criticism of India over Kashmir

In the past, Tehran has been careful to avoid antagonizing the government in New Delhi and has sought instead to bolster Iran-India ties and to balance Iran’s relations with India and Pakistan.

IranSource by Fatemeh Aman

India Iran