POLICY BRIEF: The Limits of Iran’s Regional Ambitions

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POLICY BRIEF: The Limits of Iran’s Regional Ambitions

The Limits of Iran’s Regional Ambitions

Policy Brief by J. Dana Stuster
July 9, 2015

The reach of Iran’s foreign policy has exceeded its grasp. For all its efforts to maintain its sphere of influence and expand its power in the Middle East, it has gained little from its interventions. Tehran has consolidated its control over the leadership in Damascus and South Beirut, but these allies are stretched thin and seeing their power and influence recede. Meanwhile, Iran is increasingly challenged in Iraq by the Islamic State and resurgent U.S. diplomacy. In Gaza, Tehran has ceded its influence with Hamas to the same governments supplying its opponents in Syria. Far from an ascendant actor in the region, Iran is currently fighting the greatest challenge to its power since its sphere of influence coalesced in the 1980s. The discourse in the United States should take this into account and refrain from inflating the threat of Iran’s policies. Such alarmism risks an American overreaction. Instead, U.S. policy must take into account not just Iran’s ambitions for preeminence in the region, but also the limited effectiveness of its recent strategy.

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In the News

  • NSN Iranian Policy Brief Cited in The National Interest, 7/13/15
Photo Credit: A. Davey, 4/14/10

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