Iran and U.S. Strategy: Looking beyond the JCPOA

June 30, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile
  • Military


Anthony H. Cordesman

Author's Title: 

Burke Chair in Strategy


Center for Strategic and International Studies

Regardless of what nations declare, their real-world strategy tends to evolve one crisis at a time and focus on the issues that drive that particular crisis to the exclusion or partial indifference of other key factors and needs. In practice, the Biden Administration’s present focus on Iran as a threat is driven by its effort to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and to make it a fully functioning agreement – with little public attention to the other factors that must shape U.S. strategy towards Iran and the Gulf.

The administration seems to pay far less attention to what will happen after such an agreement to return to the JCPOA is or is not reached; if the other developments in Iran’s politics and strategy; if the other developments in its military forces; and if its role and influence in nearby powers like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Iran’s potential new trade for oil in its agreement with China seems to get only marginal attention – as does China’s strategic dependence on imports of Gulf oil.


Read the full report at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.