Crisis with Iran


On Monday, June 24, the Center for the National Interest hosted a group of prominent Middle East experts to discuss the growing tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While America’s relationship with Iran has long been strained by both contemporary and historical geopolitical disagreements, tensions have been on the rise since America withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018. Iran’s alleged attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, its downing of an American surveillance drone, and President Trump’s recent flirtation with launching retaliatory strikes against Iran have forced many foreign policy experts to seriously consider the possibility of armed conflict between the United States and Iran.

Two leading Middle East analysts were on hand to provide their perspectives on this timely topic.

The first expert to speak was Kenneth Pollack, a Resident Scholar for Middle Eastern political-military affairs at the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Pollack served twice at the National Security Council, first as director for Near East and South Asian affairs and then as director for Persian Gulf affairs. He began his career as a Persian Gulf military analyst at the CIA.

Dr. Pollack was joined on the panel by Paul Pillar, a visiting Professor at Georgetown University. Dr. Pillar previously served as a National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia with the National Intelligence Council. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Dr. Pillar is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.

Geoffrey Kemp, the Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at the Center for the National Interest, moderated the discussion.

The National Interest’s analysis of the discussion can be found here:

See a video of the discussion here: