United Nations arms embargo on Iran

How will the world react? The Middle East Programs presents a series of global perspectives on how the world is approaching the October 2020 expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Past events

Tue, Jul 7, 2020

Israel’s growing ties with the Gulf Arab states

ONLINE EVENT – Launch and discussion of issue brief on the recent rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf states.


Wed, Jun 10, 2020

Four-month countdown to the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran

ONLINE EVENT – How will the world react? Whether the UN arms embargo on Iran expires or is extended will have major implications for the United States’ partners, competitors, and the region.


Wed, May 27, 2020

Drone attacks against critical infrastructure in the Middle East

ONLINE EVENT – The use of drones as weapons in the Middle East and North Africa has grown rapidly in recent years, especially as non-state actors from the Houthis in Yemen to militants in Syria seek to level the playing field. Often powered by widely available commercial technology, these systems present a real and present security challenge.




A person wearing protective face mask in an empty Departure Hall at the Terminal 2E of the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, near Paris, France. United States President Donald Trump imposed a 30-day ban on travel from nearly all European countries

Tue, Jul 7, 2020

US global leadership at risk

The post-COVID world represent a step-change in world order, pushing countries toward isolation and setting the stage for open conflict. The US could still change that outcome.

Atlantic Council Strategy Paper Series by Mathew J. Burrows, Peter Engelke

Americas Coronavirus
Gulf States - Netanyahu & Qaboos

Tue, Jul 7, 2020

Israel’s growing ties with the Arab Gulf states

Once thought to be irreconcilable adversaries, Israel and the Gulf states have grown closer in recent years. What started as under-the-table intelligence sharing designed to counter Iran’s ambitions throughout the Middle East has morphed into greater cooperation not only on security but also on economic, political, and cultural issues.

Issue Brief by Jonathan H. Ferziger, Gawdat Bahgat

Israel Politics & Diplomacy
Destroyed village in Lebanon

Wed, May 13, 2020

Counting the cost: Avoiding another war between Israel and Hezbollah

The Atlantic Council has released a new report, “Counting the Cost: Avoiding Another War between Israel and Hezbollah,” authored by Nicholas Blanford and Assaf Orion.

In-Depth Research & Reports by Nicholas Blanford and Assaf Orion

Conflict Crisis Management

Wed, May 6, 2020

Coronavirus will not bring Iran sanctions relief

The US administration is proving unmoved by arguments that the severity of the coronavirus in Iran merits a lifting of sanctions. This is for two reasons. Washington believes that the regime in Tehran is leveraging the virus for its own power consolidation, and there is no US political disincentive, domestically or internationally, for keeping sanctions pressure on.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus
A net launched from a net-capture system just before catching its target, Quantico, Virginia (December 2018). Source: Red Six Solutions

Mon, May 4, 2020

Drone attacks against critical infrastructure: A real and present threat

Read the Middle East Program's new paper on the use of weaponized drones in the Middle East, with recommendations for policymakers.

Issue Brief by Dr. Scott Crino and Conrad "Andy" Dreby

Drones Middle East
IRGCN Vessels Conduct Unsafe, Unprofessional Interaction with U.S. Naval Forces in Arabian Gulf

Thu, Apr 23, 2020

Trump’s Twitter threat to destroy Iranian boats isn’t guidance

In a tweet on April 22, US President Donald Trump announced that he ordered the US Navy to destroy any Iranian boats harassing US warships. While the tweet may seem like new and escalatory guidance from the Commander in Chief to his forces in the region and an indication of a substantial increase in tensions between the United States and Iran, it is neither.

IranSource by John W. Miller

Iran Maritime Security

Tue, Mar 31, 2020

Gulf partners could give Iran and the US a way out of their collision course

With interests on both sides of the conflict and much to lose if it worsens, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is the one organization that could be a hero here, kickstarting a chain reaction that arrives at de-escalation without any party losing face.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Iran

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

US strategy in Iraq and the coronavirus plot twist

Tehran is betting that the world is too consumed with managing a pandemic to hold them accountable—and that the US administration is unwilling to stay the course in Iraq because it is too gun shy in an election year and too financially strapped by the coming burden of US unemployment. The implications of a global pandemic make that a risky bet.

Elections 2020 by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Amid COVID-19, Iraq remains US-Iran battleground

Americans have been killed once again during attacks on Iraqi bases, and a series of strikes have been made by US forces and Iranian proxies within Iraq, with no immediate sign that the hostilities will abate anytime soon. Iran is trying to force a US withdrawal, and the United States is trying to protect its interests and reinforce its red lines. Caught in the middle once again, Iraq is simultaneously confronting a security crisis, a health emergency, and an economic free fall—all without the benefit of a functioning government in Baghdad.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

Conflict Coronavirus

Mon, Mar 16, 2020

What the coronavirus emergency means for the US-Iran conflict

While the world is focused on the spread of a pandemic, the conflict between Iran and the United States is heating up. Without the laser-focused media attention of early January to temper the actions of both sides, we can expect to see riskier behavior and less concern for collateral damage.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus