top of page

2024 Spring Conference, Networks of Influence: Iran; Military: Power, Proxies, and Potential

This is the Council's second panel during its annual Spring Conference.



Justin Logan is the director of defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He is an expert on U.S. grand strategy, international relations theory, and American foreign policy. His current research focuses on three subjects: the failure of U.S. efforts at burden sharing in NATO; the shifting balance of power in Asia; and the limited relevance of the Middle East to U.S. national security. He has authored numerous policy studies and articles on topics including international relations theory, U.S.-China policy, U.S.-Russia policy, stabilization and reconstruction operations, and the policy approaches to a nuclear Iran. His articles have appeared in International Security, Foreign Affairs, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Foreign Policy, the National Interest, the Harvard International Review, Orbis, and the Foreign Service Journal, among others. Logan holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from American University.

Farzin Nadimi, a Senior Fellow with The Washington Institute, is a Washington-based analyst specializing in the security and defense affairs of Iran and the Persian Gulf region. He has written previously for the Institute regarding Tehran's asymmetric naval warfare strategy.

Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior fellow at FDD where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Behnam previously served as a research fellow and senior Iran analyst at FDD. Prior to his time at FDD, Behnam worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think-tank in Washington. Leveraging his subject-matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Behnam has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics. Frequently called upon to brief journalists, congressional staff, and other Washington-audiences, Behnam has also testified before the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament. His analysis has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fox News, The Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse, among others. Additionally, he has contributed to or co-authored articles for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Fox News, The Hill, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and U.S. News & World Report. Behnam has appeared on a variety of broadcast programs, including BBC News, Fox News, CBS Interactive, C-SPAN, and Defense News. Behnam earned his MA in International Relations from The University of Chicago, and his BA in International Affairs and Middle East Studies from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.


Ambassador Ed Gabriel served as the 16th US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, from 1997-2001. Ambassador Gabriel has convened international forums concerning national security, environmental, trade, and energy issues, and from 1992-1995 he was involved in matters of Russian nuclear non-proliferation and uranium trading. He has written on the topics of energy as well as US policy in the Middle East and North Africa. He is currently the President of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a nonprofit organization that seeks to build greater bilateral ties between the US and Lebanon. He has served in leadership positions and on the boards of multiple nonprofit policy organizations and educational institutions focused on the Middle East and North Africa, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Amideast, the Arab American National Museum, the American Schools of Tangier and Marrakech, and Lebanese American University, among others. Earlier in his career, Ambassador Gabriel was the founding President of the Madison Public Affairs Group, a leading public affairs company in Washington, DC, which represented private and nonprofit clients concerning domestic and international projects in the fields of defense, energy and trade. He also served as Director of Energy Policy for the Keystone Policy Center, a conflict-resolution policy organization; Executive Director of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, an American Indian energy trade association; and as a senior economic analyst for the Department of Energy. Ambassador Gabriel’s honors include the Order of the Ouissam Alaouite of Morocco, 2001, and the National Order of the Cedar of Lebanon, 2002. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2018 and Arab American of Year in 2012. Ambassador Gabriel holds a B.S. degree and Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Gannon University. He’s a native of Olean, NY, and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Kathleen Linehan, a lawyer and animal rights activist.


bottom of page