Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



August 16, 2018

On May 8, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Deal, and announced the re-imposition of all U.S. nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. Since then, Trump has alternated between threats of “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered” aimed at Tehran and offers for unconditional talks with Iran’s leadership. The Administration has also outlined twelve conditions for negotiating a “better deal”--conditions that most experts believe Iran will not be willing to meet. Although the Administration’s position has been embraced by a number of close U.S. partners in the Middle East, it has been rejected by most of the international community, including all of the other parties to the Iran Deal (China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom). What are the Trump Administration’s strategic objectives regarding Iran? Are they achievable? Will the Iran Deal survive the U.S. withdrawal? If the deal collapses, will Iran resume its nuclear activities and, if so, what are the implications for international security? This presentation will seek to address these questions.

In addition to his current faculty position at Stanford, Dr. Kahl is a Strategic Consultant to the Penn-Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. From October 2014 to January 2017, he served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden. From February 2009 to December 2011, Dr. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. His current research projects include a book analyzing American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the implications of emerging technologies on strategic stability. Dr. Kahl received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 2000 and his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1993.