Over the past two decades, the Middle East has taken center stage on the American foreign policy agenda.

Associated Scholars: Ilan I. Berman, Lawrence J. Haas, Avi Jorisch, Mora Namdar, James S. Robbins, Emily Milliken
Related Bulletins: Iran Democracy Monitor

Regional dangers with international implications abound, from the expansionist ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the growing phenomenon of radical Islamism. The transformation of Turkey, political changes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the legacy of the Arab Spring uprisings have succeeded in demolishing the traditional geopolitical status quo, and created a challenging new geopolitical environment for the United States and its allies. AFPC’s work helps provide policymakers, experts, and the media with the tools to understand and navigate these new realities.
AFPC scholars maintain an active schedule of research and writing on the Middle East. These insights – in the form of articles, editorials and policy papers – look “over the horizon” at emerging challenges and opportunities in the region, and help to inform U.S. decision makers about political realities and significant trends.
AFPC supplements its analytical work on Middle East politics with original, cutting-edge insights gleaned from on-the-ground research throughout the region. Over the past half-decade, AFPC's research missions have included trips to Morocco, Tunisia, Israel, and Turkey. The findings from these trips have resulted in studies, reports and editorials that have helped U.S. policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch to better understand and navigate the changing currents of a volatile region.
AFPC scholars have testified more two dozen times on topics related to Iran and the Middle East. They have spoken before eight different committees on both the House and Senate sides including the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.



Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran represents one of the greatest challenges to American objectives in the Middle East, and to long-term success in the Global War on Terror. Established in 2006, the American Foreign Policy Council's Iran Freedom Initiative is committed to assisting American policymakers to develop and implement strategy toward Iran – and to promoting the spread of pluralism and democratic principles in that country.
AFPC provides critical insights into the broad ideology and mechanics of the Islamic Republic of Iran via its Iran Democracy Monitor e-bulletin. Published periodically, this monitor tracks the levels of radicalism and reform in Iran, focusing on issues such as human rights, governmental repression and the state of the Iranian opposition.
For much of the past decade, the international community has focused above all on one dimension of the contemporary threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran: its determined quest for nuclear capability. Consequently, until quite recently, relatively little sustained analytical work has been devoted to Iran’s growing quest for global influence beyond its immediate neighborhood, and to the strategic objectives underpinning this expansion. For years, AFPC has devoted extensive attention to this aspect of the Iranian challenge through activities such fact-finding missions, studies and Congressional assistance, focusing on issues such as Iran’s growing presence in Latin America, its burgeoning cyber capabilities, its ideological and financial support for both Sunni and Shi’a terrorist groups, and other destabilizing global activities that have as yet garnered insufficient attention from U.S. policymakers.
AFPC maintains an extensive schedule of public education and advocacy work relating to Iran, taking the form of original research and analysis, presentations and media appearances. AFPC’s work on Iran has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Foreign Affairs, Politico, The National Interest, the Washington Times, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard, among other publications, and its experts have provided expert commentary to news outlets such as Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and C-SPAN regarding the contemporary challenge to American interests that is posed by the Islamic Republic.


AFPC Vice President Ilan Berman testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in one of his twelve congressional testimonies on Iran.