The End of Dual Containment:
Iraq, Iran, and Smart Sanctions

Policy Review Workshop
June 3-5, 2000, Washington, DC

Workshop Description

Since it was first articulated in 1993, the policy of "dual containment" has been based on the assumption that both Iraq and Iran are inherently hostile to the United States interests in the region and that both countries need to be contained and weakened to the maximum extent possible. In implementing this policy, the United States allowed for differences between the two countries, most importantly by openly seeking regime change in Iraq, but not in Iran. In both cases the primary focus and impact of the policy has been on economic sanctions—multilateral in the case of Iraq and unilateral in the case of Iran. In recent years, government and nongovernment critics of the effectiveness of these sanctions have led policy analysts to research and recommend the use of "smart sanctions."

Given the changing geopolitical environment, how can overall US interests best be furthered in dealing with Iraq and Iran? Are the differences in circumstances between Iraq and Iran sufficient to call for a more differentiated policy approach? Are US sanctions appropriate in both cases? If so, what would be the objectives and likely results of smarter sanctions?

A distinguished group of panelists were invited to provide insights from different perspectives on these and similar questions at a policy review workshop held June 20, 2001 at the Library of Congress.

The Program on International Security at the Atlantic Council of the United States, the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, the Middle East Policy Council, and the Stanley Foundation jointly sponsored this workshop.