Vali Nasr

Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Middle East Chess: Iran v. U.S.

About the Topic

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Vali Nasr warns that the Trump Administration’s Middle East strategy “is in deep trouble.” Key to that strategy is the re-imposition of “maximum pressure" sanctions to negotiate, in Mr. Trump’s words, “a new and lasting deal". Key, also, is to contain Iran regionally by partnering closely with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Bin Salman. The Crown Prince has proved a dubious ally, entangling the US in his brutal war in Yemen, his blockade of Qatar - home to the largest US air base in the region - and the vicious murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi blunders, Nasr argues, leave “Iran with much more room for strategic initiatives.”

About the Speaker

Vali Nasr is Dean and Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board and a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations. From 2009 - 2011, he served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. The Economist describes Nasr as a “scholar-cum-diplomat who is a leading world authority on Shia Islam.” Born in Tehran, he has written prolifically about Iran and the geopolitics of the broader Middle East.