From the Forecast: “Tehran must … move quickly to secure its objectives – to become the leading power in the Persian Gulf, and then to dominate the Arab world from the gulf to the Mediterranean. This will be Iran’s challenge in 2018.”
Update: If the demise of the Islamic State was the center of gravity in our 2017 forecast for the Middle East, the Iranian attempt to fill the power vacuum left in the group’s wake was the center of gravity in our 2018 forecast for the world’s most frenetic region. Iran has had a difficult year, capped off by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions targeting its oil sector. The U.S. has granted temporary waivers to many of Iran’s top energy importers to try to stave off a spike in oil prices. But as oil prices drop and it becomes clear that the market is oversupplied even with Iran on the sidelines, the incentive for U.S. leniency will soon pass as well.
Overall, it has been a mixed year in Iran and for this forecast. The Iranian economy