The Iran nuclear deal will not turn the Islamic Republic into a partner of the West anytime soon. The United States and its allies should therefore be prepared to contrast Iranian activities that foment sectarianism in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere. Their ultimate goal, however, should not be containment, which is no longer a viable option in a regional context characterized by extreme violence, ethnic and sectarian fragmentation, and the proliferation of jihadist groups. Instead, they should calibrate pressure on Iran with an attempt to engage it, along with the Sunni Arab states, in a dialogue ultimately aimed at setting up an inclusive security governance structure in the Gulf. The nuclear deal has shown that compromise with Iran is possible. However implausible it might look today, a regional governance architecture is also a pre-condition to restore long-term stability in the Middle East and the Gulf.
1. The effects of the deal on Iran’s foreign policy
2. Elements of a strategy to engage Iran: Iraq and Syria
3. Elements of a strategy to engage Iran: the Gulf