The withdrawal by the Trump administration from the Obama-era nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA) and the subsequent campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran by the United States in an effort to get a better deal from Tehran, has raised regional tensions to near boiling point. Five ships have been attacked in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, a US drone shot down by an Iranian missile, and an Iranian and UK tanker seized. The war of words between Washington and Tehran has been escalating week by week. And the European states have been busy trying to keep the JCPOA alive rather than signing up to President Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign.
It is a difficult policy problem to resolve and even more difficult to gauge how the current American policy is seen by Iranians given the difficulty in gaining press access. In order to provide some insight into these questions, Lowy Institute Research Fellow Dr Rodger Shanahan hosted a panel with Dr Amir Mogadam from the University of Newcastle, Mahmoud Pargoo from the Australian Catholic University and Dr Gorana Grgic from the University of Sydney to discuss the current tensions in the Gulf from US and Iranian policy perspectives.