Countering Iran in the Arabian Gulf

Think tank: The Henry Jackson Society

Author(s): Robert Clark; Luke Rawlings

February 11, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Henry Jackson Society is an in-depth study of the Iranian regime’s foreign policy impact in the Arabian Gulf region.

This project involved undertaking an in-depth and exhaustive study of the Iranian regime’s foreign policy impacts upon British and American national security interests in the Arabian Gulf region. Specifically, this includes: nuclear proliferation and Iranian breaches of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); Iran’s ballistic missile programme; continued sponsoring of proxy forces and proscribed terrorist organisations (including the Assad regime, Houthis, Hezbollah, and various Iraqi Shia militias which the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) control); and the continued illegal seizures of tankers and disruption to maritime trade.

This study resulted in a comprehensive overview of the JCPOA, with sound and structured policy recommendations for the UK Government based upon the evidence presented of the above-mentioned Iranian actions since 2015. These recommendations include: a broadening of the JCPOA to include restricting Iran’s ability to further develop intercontinental ballistic missiles; targeted sanctioning of the Lebanese banks which the IRGC relies upon for funding should Iran breach the likely renewed JCPOA; and an uplift in the International Maritime Security Construct and British military presence in Bahrain to counter continued illegal tanker seizures. This includes a recommendation to permanently extend the current three-year deployment and basing rights for a Royal Navy frigate or destroyer.