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Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran

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An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America's most informed and influential Middle East experts Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of Amer An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America's most informed and influential Middle East experts Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of America's strained superpower status. Challenging the daily clamor of U.S. saber rattling, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett argue that America should renounce thirty years of failed strategy and engage with Iran—just as Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by going to Beijing and realigning relations with China. Former analysts in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Leveretts offer a uniquely informed account of Iran as it actually is today, not as many have caricatured it or wished it to be. They show that Iran's political order is not on the verge of collapse, that most Iranians still support the Islamic Republic, and that Iran's regional influence makes it critical to progress in the Middle East. Drawing on years of research and access to high-level officials, Going to Tehran explains how Iran sees the world and why its approach to foreign policy is hardly the irrational behavior of a rogue nation. A bold call for new thinking, the Leveretts' indispensable work makes it clear that America must "go to Tehran" if it is to avert strategic catastrophe.


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An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America's most informed and influential Middle East experts Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of Amer An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America's most informed and influential Middle East experts Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of America's strained superpower status. Challenging the daily clamor of U.S. saber rattling, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett argue that America should renounce thirty years of failed strategy and engage with Iran—just as Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by going to Beijing and realigning relations with China. Former analysts in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Leveretts offer a uniquely informed account of Iran as it actually is today, not as many have caricatured it or wished it to be. They show that Iran's political order is not on the verge of collapse, that most Iranians still support the Islamic Republic, and that Iran's regional influence makes it critical to progress in the Middle East. Drawing on years of research and access to high-level officials, Going to Tehran explains how Iran sees the world and why its approach to foreign policy is hardly the irrational behavior of a rogue nation. A bold call for new thinking, the Leveretts' indispensable work makes it clear that America must "go to Tehran" if it is to avert strategic catastrophe.

30 review for Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett lay out a comprehensive, compelling, well researched argument for their position, which is the consistent mismanagement of Iranian relations by the U.S. for the last twenty years, and it is absolutely worthwhile reading for people interested in international relations (first) and Iran (second). Because it is making a positional argument, it isn't a particularly good book for people who don't already have some grounding in Iranian history or politics. In order to g Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett lay out a comprehensive, compelling, well researched argument for their position, which is the consistent mismanagement of Iranian relations by the U.S. for the last twenty years, and it is absolutely worthwhile reading for people interested in international relations (first) and Iran (second). Because it is making a positional argument, it isn't a particularly good book for people who don't already have some grounding in Iranian history or politics. In order to get a complete and balanced look at the situation, you would need to read at least one other book on the subject, and maybe two or three. I was also hoping for a better look at the feelings and positions of ordinary Iranians when I picked this up (not with regard to the argument, just in general), but the book largely only focuses on policymakers, and only opinion polls are cited to represent ordinary citizens.

  2. 4 out of 5

    محمد علی شفیعی

    کتابی بسیار خوب که به طور دقیق دیدگاه هیأت حاکمه ی آمریکا را نسبت به ایران، از زبان دو تن از مقامات مطلع و رده بالا، بیان میکند و علت ادامه دار شدن مشکلات و دشمنی های بین این دو کشور را بر خلاف فضای رسانه ای، تقصیر ایالات متحده میداند و برای این حرف خود از لحظه لحظه ی روابط دو کشور در این چهل سال ذکر دلیل و مثال می آورد و همچنین راه بهبود این وضعیت را در اعتماد سازی نه از سوی ایران بلکه از سوی آمریکا می داند

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Looking at some of the other reviews, I gather that this book is not overly popular (I'm pretty intuitive). However, I think that those who gave it low ratings and negative reviews are swayed (perhaps not surprisingly) by their own personal experiences with Iran and by other stories they have heard about the Islamic Republic. Regardless of your level of agreement with the argument or with the premise of the book, the Leverett's documentation and research were superb. There are pages and pages of Looking at some of the other reviews, I gather that this book is not overly popular (I'm pretty intuitive). However, I think that those who gave it low ratings and negative reviews are swayed (perhaps not surprisingly) by their own personal experiences with Iran and by other stories they have heard about the Islamic Republic. Regardless of your level of agreement with the argument or with the premise of the book, the Leverett's documentation and research were superb. There are pages and pages of notes, and they painstakingly work to show that their references and claim of expertise are not unfounded. This book was a fireball. The Leveretts know that they hold an entirely unpopular view, but they are not afraid to stand tall and make their case for diplomatic relations with Iran. They lay out specific cases of Iran reaching out to the U.S., Iran assisting American in delicate Middle East situations, Iran volunteering for stricter and more widespread oversight of their nuclear program. Their facts were shocking, since the American media would never report overtures of that kind. At the very least, it has to make you question why we are only allowed to hear one side of the story. The reasons laid out in this book just make sense. It makes sense that America tries to ostracize Iran to achieve Middle East hegemony. It makes sense that those who rave against Iran have personal reasons for doing so that might prevent them from being neutral. Americans need to ask themselves what the reasons are for our sanctions against Iran, when we regularly deal with China, who has human rights violations galore. If we really are ostracizing and putting sanctions on Iran because we think they are an illegitimate, oppressive regime, then why don't we carry that strategy to other oppressive nations? I think there was a great argument made to show why Iran is, contrary to popular belief, a legitimate nation. The Leveretts took common arguments against legitimacy and made a solid case to prove them wrong. They discussed the beginnings of the Islamic Republic, their elections, and more, and made a case for why the way Iran is right not really is the desire of the majority of the people. They also shredded the argument that Ahmadinejad's second election was staged. I consider myself to be a critical thinker, and their proof seems to hold up. My largest issue with the book was their almost complete lack of reference to some of the human rights violations that took place and perhaps still take place in Iran. I still believe that regardless of what the regime does, it is not America's place to police the world, but I do think it is important to be aware of and discuss things that happen around the globe. They only referenced the children used in the Iran-Iraq War-- children who were promised entry to paradise, given cheap mass-produced keys to wear around their necks, and sent into fields to clear mines. That discussion in important and needs to happen. Similarly, the loss of civil liberties and many freedoms needs to be discussed within the context of the Iranian culture and the Islamic Revolution, but I didn't see that addressed enough. Perhaps that is because the Leveretts know that is a weak spot in their argument for accepting the Islamic republic. There is so much more I could say about this book, but I think this was above all an important book to read. The relationship that we have with Iran is so nuanced, and the general public of America needs to realize that, rather than just accepting talking points from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    so, this is definitely not the book to read if you are trying to learn about Iran but have little primer on your knowledge of the middle east. thus, this book took me quite a long time to finish as my knowledge on the middle east is limited. having stated this, I did learn quite a bit from this book but won't be able to tool this new knowledge as much as I could if I had read foundational texts first. Going to Tehran is the essential finger-pointing book...the Leveretts know exactly who opposes so, this is definitely not the book to read if you are trying to learn about Iran but have little primer on your knowledge of the middle east. thus, this book took me quite a long time to finish as my knowledge on the middle east is limited. having stated this, I did learn quite a bit from this book but won't be able to tool this new knowledge as much as I could if I had read foundational texts first. Going to Tehran is the essential finger-pointing book...the Leveretts know exactly who opposes them, down to specific names. cleary, the Leveretts knew their views are unpopular - both even comment on how the NYT occasionally gets the Iran story wrong. the book's thesis is essentially that the IRI is not going away any time soon and the US should rework our relationship with the IRI, much like we did with China during the early 1970s. after stating this, the Leveretts go to town pointing out how -blank- has done these actions in the past, has this background and as a result is not improving the US-IRI relationship. definitely a battle cry for change and a scorching critique of US diplomacy. perhaps the only flaw I found in this book is the lack of discussion concerning human rights violations in the IRI but even if the Leveretts did discuss IRI human rights violations, it would not discredit their argument. once again, note the blatant human rights violations that occur in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China, and even Vietnam while the US still maintains diplomatic relations with each state. the most compelling point in Going to Tehran, is why the US is so insistent on regime change. the Leveretts write that the US isn't really interested in the happy human rights of the country but rather, the US is interested in expanding our area of influence. hence Vietnam, hence Iraq, hence why a vast portion of our foreign military sales go to Saudi Arabia despite massive human rights violations...rather than attempting to meet "mutual accommodation" as Nixon and Kissinger did with China, US diplomacy, has essentially been "my way or the high way". such globalization began in the H.W. Bush Administration, gained strength in the Clinton Administration and dominated the G.W. Bush and Obama administration. Obama gets some points for trying a little bit to reopen the US-IRI relationship but unfortunately his efforts ran out of steam. but, the Leveretts emphasize that the IRI is a legitimate force to be reckoned with (unlike North Korea) and the US would be wise to change diplomatic tactics. looking forward (as this book came out in 2012), whatever happens between the IRI and the US under the Trump Administration will certainly be interesting, if not unfortunate. though no one in Washington seems to know what the Trump Administration makes of anything foreign policy wise, it does seem apparent that the hegemonic attitude of US diplomacy is not going to change which does not bode well for US-IRI relations. if the Trump Administration wants to back out of the Iranian nuclear deal, continue to dismiss the IRI as a legitimate power or even declare war on the IRI, the US is in for a bumpy ride. US allies, even Saudi Arabia, do no want a US-Iran war as a war will deeply dent the oil market that flows through the Strait of Hormuz. should the US go to war with Iran, air defense would likely be targeted first which would disable oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz and there goes 20% of oil exports consumed by Japan and a chunk of Europe. the world runs on oil as well - almost 94 million barrels are consumed per day in the world. not to mention, many middle eastern economies would be crippled as many middle eastern economies are not diversified and heavily dependent on oil exports. furthermore, the US would be on it's own in this ordeal as those involved in the Iranian nuclear deal (United Nations Security Council) have already stated they would not help the US if we choose to dismiss the Iranian nuclear deal. so now not only is the US on thorny terms with the IRI but we are also alone in our position. this scenario doesn't even consider the implications between the US and the IRI concerning immigration OR what may happen now that aggressive conspiracy-soaked conservative ideology (different from your typical brand of conservativism, by the way) has a strong say in the President's security council. so what is the next step for US-IRI relations? no one seems to know and sadly, it seems that the chance for change for the better is slim.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hooman

    Democracy is messy and sometimes spies and collaborators take an advantage of the loopholes available in the system. Mohsen Rezaei a former commander of IRGC has informed Ayatullah Khamenei (The Supreme Leader of Iran) to establish an Iranian Lobby as powerful as AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in United States in order to influence policy makers in Senate and the White house to penetrate the system and get some positive image of Islamic Republic out or change the aggressive law Democracy is messy and sometimes spies and collaborators take an advantage of the loopholes available in the system. Mohsen Rezaei a former commander of IRGC has informed Ayatullah Khamenei (The Supreme Leader of Iran) to establish an Iranian Lobby as powerful as AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in United States in order to influence policy makers in Senate and the White house to penetrate the system and get some positive image of Islamic Republic out or change the aggressive laws passed by them. Therefore a budget was specified to pay the useful idiots and those who love Petro Dollars to get their hands on some hard cash.(i.e blood money). Leverett family paid with Petro Dollars have started a campaign of appeasement, misinformation and lies in such a way that they can portray white as black. Iran's oil Mafia is one of the most powerful Mafias directly running under the members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Quds forces,they posses a huge budget to enforce the will of Supreme leader. Therefore under the direct supervision of MOI (Ministry of Intelligence) they hire anybody no matter if Christian or Jew, to do the dirty work and get paid handsomely.A Recently published Pentagon Report indicated that MOI hired many foreign citizens to work for the mullahs. One of them who was named in this report is a British Citizen and a Professor with completely liberal features who constantly appeases Ayatullahs in Tehran but we all know that government of United States is very much aware about the Leverett family and other American Citizens whom were hired by the MOI. These Lobbyists carry a special tone in their projects and that is "Anti War movement",Under the slogan of Anti war movement these lobbyists start the campaign of lies, misinformation and propaganda to challenge and threaten people who stand for Change and Freedom in Iran. Here is another failed try by Leveretts to publish a book and get a special bonus from Supreme Leader of Iran. What Leverett missed in their appeasement of mullahs is that the Islamic Regime had done so much damage to the world that People of the world will hate it even more by daily basis. It has been 35 years that Islamic Republic of Iran rule the Iranian people , if nobody knows, Iranians such as myself know very well,what we are dealing with. We don't need Leverett family to Advertise for the Dear Leader or show that Iran is very nice and Iranians are still praising Mullahs. One simply can travel to Tehran, put a little beard and pretend he is a hardliner and see whether he can find a Taxi or any ride from the Airport, People of Iran are the most secular people I have ever seen in my life. Their contempt toward Mullahs and Islamic Government is shown in the way ladies dress to show the mullahs, we will not rest until we overthrow your Islamic caliphate, What media is missing is a morality Police going street by Street and arrest these young ladies for their make up or walking with their boy friends, or going to the roof tops smashing Satellite Dishes, If anything the Iranian youth despise the mullahs and their Islamic Establishment. Majority of Iranian even those who serve in Armed forces are tired of Mullahs, The rotten fruit of Theocracy made everybody contemptuous, Yet Leveretts meditated that Iranians love the mullahs. this preposterous claim is so mind boggling that even themselves can not believe it. Islamic regime of Iran like all the Fascist regimes before it uses apologists and useful idiots to lie and manipulate the media, but I am sure Freedom loving Americans will put an end to it. The blood of dissidents who were murdered in the streets of Europe and Iran will not let the appeasers to carry on with their lies, The Phoenix of Freedom will rise again from ashes in Tehran and this time it will send the mullahs to the trash bin of History. For more Information please read the website [...] "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." -Joseph Goebbels Adolf Hitler's right hand man & minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    In a time where U.S. and Israel are on the verge to attack Iran, this book is the best literal antidote to this impending folly war scheme to this date. Reading the book, you really understand how the portrayal of Iran in western media and by western politicans are horrendusly flawed and how extremely misled - we, the people, really have become. The the demonization against Iran have made the situation so tense that you almost cannot even raise the topic of Iran these days. That is why this book a In a time where U.S. and Israel are on the verge to attack Iran, this book is the best literal antidote to this impending folly war scheme to this date. Reading the book, you really understand how the portrayal of Iran in western media and by western politicans are horrendusly flawed and how extremely misled - we, the people, really have become. The the demonization against Iran have made the situation so tense that you almost cannot even raise the topic of Iran these days. That is why this book are more than welcome. This book (written by former State dep. US National Security Council and CIA members that had were part of negogiations with Iran), they, in general, demolish the lies, myths and misconceptions about Iran, it dismantles the flawed western media portrayal of Iran that are daily pushed, primary by: Israel> Neoconservatives & Israel Lobby> Liberal interventionists > Iranian exiles > Western "experts" on Iran Leveretts nicely demolish the arguments from the above groups and show how wrong they are on topics such as Iranian election 2009, iranian domestic/foreign policies, their electoratal system, their religious system, the statements and offer by Iran et.c. and how these flawed arguments affects the western view of Iran and also how their flawed arguments hurt american interests and also hurt chances of a peace between Iran and the US. One could say that the views pushed by the groups mentioned above are a simplistic, orientalist view of Iran, as a backward, violent and irrational regime bent on destroying Israel. Leveretts show how wrong this labeling are and what kind of dangerous policies that have come out of it. The main argument Leveretts are making is what while US are loosing influence in the region, Iran is not, in fact Iran is expanding its influence througout the region, thus for US to keep its interests alive and expanding they need to realign with Iran - they must come to terms, they must recognize the Islamic republic of Iran, that is - US need Iran's help in the region. Iran is a major player in the region with vital ties to every issue going on in the middle east thus the constant hostility against Iran and the work-around them doesnt benefit the U.S., Leveretts fittingly compare the US/Iran situation with the US/China situation and propose the "Nixon goes to China"-model (or to apply the thesis today - "Obama goes to Tehran") to solve the issue with Iran. In sum it is the best book out there that should be read by anyone that want to know Iran beyond the flawed western media and political portrayal and understand why its such a important state for America and for the region and thus rest of the world. If I have to pick one that should read it, Obama would be the one since he have the power to stop this mad dash for war.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mahdi

    I would highly advise this book for any Westerner/Iranian expatriate for accurately understanding the aims, objectives and principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Leveretts dispels all the propagandistic characterizations of Iran as an illegitimate state whose citizens have long awaited a toppling of their theocratic government. The myths about the regress of the Iran post-revolution are also debunked by the Leveretts. This is done so by comparing several national index values (literacy, I would highly advise this book for any Westerner/Iranian expatriate for accurately understanding the aims, objectives and principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Leveretts dispels all the propagandistic characterizations of Iran as an illegitimate state whose citizens have long awaited a toppling of their theocratic government. The myths about the regress of the Iran post-revolution are also debunked by the Leveretts. This is done so by comparing several national index values (literacy, life expectancy, access to health-care, access to education and etc.) pre- and post- the Islamic revolution. The Leverett's also contrast the dishonesty of the coverage and political analysis provided by Western and Iranian expatriates journalists of Iran by comparing it with the news coverage within Iran and the facts on the ground. Most importantly, the Leveretts stripped America of the facade it hides behind by exposing the numerous instances in which America: 1) Made deals with Iran while lying to the American public of Iran's dishonesty and misplaced intentions. 2) Turned on Iran and refused to fulfill their end of the deal when Iran fulfilled theirs, giving Iran all the more reason to remain skeptical and hesitant from engaging in any more deals with America today. 3) Turned the international community against Iran on the basis of unjustified claims and accusations. 4) Funded and partook in operations seeking to overthrow the Iranian government. All in all, this is a great book and I would highly advise it for everyone to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Manuel

    Though a bit dated in terms of how fast (and furious) U.S. foreign policy and politics move since 2016 (as we are now in the Trump era), it is nonetheless a very important book to read right now. The antagonistic relationship of the United States with the Islamic Republic of Iran reminds me of the antagonistic relationship of Washington with the socialist government of Fidel Castro of Cuba since 1959. Both nation-states have been subjected to harassment (via economic sanctions and covert militar Though a bit dated in terms of how fast (and furious) U.S. foreign policy and politics move since 2016 (as we are now in the Trump era), it is nonetheless a very important book to read right now. The antagonistic relationship of the United States with the Islamic Republic of Iran reminds me of the antagonistic relationship of Washington with the socialist government of Fidel Castro of Cuba since 1959. Both nation-states have been subjected to harassment (via economic sanctions and covert military actions) by the hegemonic power, the United States. As former insiders in Washington, and now academics, the Leveretts write with authority and deep insight about the nature of the Islamic Republic and of the nature of U.S. hegemony in relation to it. They cogently argue that understanding deeply and accepting the legitimate sovereignty and independence of the Islamic Republic of Iran is crucial and maybe the only way to achieve peace and true stability in the Middle East region.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This was a nice surprise. I'm hesitant to give this books 4 stars though. It was pretty dry and read like a textbook.... also the organization was a bit wonky. But, it was like stepping into a whole new genre and all I can think about now is consuming more and more about Iran. I feel like this book is good starting point and that's it. It could be much more thorough, but I'm glad I ran across this book. I want to read more about the Iran-Iraq war, more about nuclear power, and more about figures This was a nice surprise. I'm hesitant to give this books 4 stars though. It was pretty dry and read like a textbook.... also the organization was a bit wonky. But, it was like stepping into a whole new genre and all I can think about now is consuming more and more about Iran. I feel like this book is good starting point and that's it. It could be much more thorough, but I'm glad I ran across this book. I want to read more about the Iran-Iraq war, more about nuclear power, and more about figures like Ahmadinejad. The stories in this book portray an Iran completely at odds with popular media and the image here in the U.S. I need to read more about this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric Randolph

    A vital book for understanding the perspective of the Iranian establishment, with many useful correctives to Western caricatures, though it misses an opportunity to provide a truly balanced perspective (the state's crimes may be wildly overblown, but they still exist).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    The Road to Tehran was a real eye-opening book that provides a lot of insight on the United States' failed policy in respect to Iran. The authors have ruffled quite a few feathers because the book essentially says that the last 40+ years of foreign policy with Iran has been misguided and counter-productive. The authors contend that the US has sought hegemony in the Middle East and is ignoring the powerful role that Iran could play in stabilizing the region. Iran has 15 neighboring countries and The Road to Tehran was a real eye-opening book that provides a lot of insight on the United States' failed policy in respect to Iran. The authors have ruffled quite a few feathers because the book essentially says that the last 40+ years of foreign policy with Iran has been misguided and counter-productive. The authors contend that the US has sought hegemony in the Middle East and is ignoring the powerful role that Iran could play in stabilizing the region. Iran has 15 neighboring countries and is important economically, politically, and religiously. Even since the ouster of the Iranian shah in 1979, the US has essentially ceased nearly all forms of diplomacy with the Islamic Republic. We seem to gloss over the fact that the CIA caused a coup in 1954 that overthrew Iran's democratically elected president and focus more on the storming of the US embassy and the taking of Americans as hostages. The book talks about how the Iranians have extended themselves on various occasions in order to open diplomatic channels, but the US has repeatedly ceased to reciprocate. The media does not shed much light on these occasions, but it is not hard to determine their veracity. For example, most Americans do not know that the Iranians helped to secure the release of the last US hostages in Lebanon in the early 1980s. The Iranians also helped during the war in Iraq. They also helped the US to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan. You will not hear about these things in the mainstream news because the information runs counter to the storyline that Iran is an "illegitimate, irrational, and on-the-verge-of-collapse power" with which we need to apply more pressure, especially with economic sanctions. The book also centers on the Iranian nuclear program, which is, of course, central to our political impasse with Iran. First of all, it should be noted that the US gave Iran its nuclear program. Back in 1956, we gave the shah of Iran the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). Yes, that's correct, we gave the Iranians the building blocks to start their nuclear program. However, after the shah was deposed, the US decided that it no longer wanted Iran to have such technology. Next, it should be noted that Iran has signed several nuclear non-proliferation treaties like other nuclear players and has agreed to IAEA inspections. The mere possession of a nuclear program is not, in itself, taboo. The science is a lot more complex, but the crux of the matter lies with whether or not a country enriches uranium to the 90+% required to make a nuclear weapon. Enriching uranium to a mere 20% is useful in creating isotopes helpful for cancer treatments, creating energy, etc. At any rate, in order to truly see what the author's arguments are, you will clearly need to read the book for yourself. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the history (and not just sound bytes) about the US and its relationship with Iran. The closing argument of the book and the title of the book has to do with the US and its opening of relations with Communist China. The parallels between the two are striking: both went through revolutions, the resulting government was seen as illegitimate, both have nuclear programs, both have governments in exile that we support, etc. The authors contend that the US president should, like Nixon in 1972, go to Iran and open relations. Make it a top-down approach and not rely on committees and multiple nations and a piece-meal approach that is easily derailed by a single issue. Change the relationship in a comprehensive manner and not little by little. I really enjoyed the book and learned a tremendous amount from it! Here is a video of the authors talking about the book: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mlk7sXRsPc

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Noroozi

    An excellent book that gives the reader an opportunity to see Iran in a different lens. Flyntt and Hillary Leverett's careful reasoning about why Iran's government is more reasonably understandable as a rational state acting in more or less the best interests of its people is worth reading itself. More than that, the book describes in well referenced detail America and Iran's ongoing history and the painful repeated instances where opportunity for lasting peace and rapprochement to the benefit o An excellent book that gives the reader an opportunity to see Iran in a different lens. Flyntt and Hillary Leverett's careful reasoning about why Iran's government is more reasonably understandable as a rational state acting in more or less the best interests of its people is worth reading itself. More than that, the book describes in well referenced detail America and Iran's ongoing history and the painful repeated instances where opportunity for lasting peace and rapprochement to the benefit of all the world were missed by the US. Unfortunately, I can't give this book five stars for a couple of reasons. One, the Leverett's just flatly avoid addressing Iran's poor human rights record almost at all. At one point they seriously give time to describe the possibility that Neda Soltan's death was an MEK terrorist plot to discredit Iran. Second, the book seems to characterise analysts with differing opinions as almost uniformly dogmatic neocons or grossly misinformed. It's possible they are neither and that they simply interpret the facts differently.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    It was fascinating to be reading this at the exact time that relationships between the USA and Iran seem to be showing the smallest glimmer of hope. Some might find it strange to call this a page turner, but it was for me. Although it stayed unread literally for months (I was overly ambitious at the public library and it is on its last renewal). While watching the news with my dad last night, I was effectively able to counter some of the so-called arguments with documentation. Although I think n It was fascinating to be reading this at the exact time that relationships between the USA and Iran seem to be showing the smallest glimmer of hope. Some might find it strange to call this a page turner, but it was for me. Although it stayed unread literally for months (I was overly ambitious at the public library and it is on its last renewal). While watching the news with my dad last night, I was effectively able to counter some of the so-called arguments with documentation. Although I think nuclear energy is too dangerous for ANY nation to pursue, the media has clearly been spinning one-sided falsehoods towards us for years. This is just one such example. Do I believe that Iran has problems? Of course. Do I think that they are actually doing a decent job? It seems more and more so. I would never want to live there, and I do think that there are still some human rights issues going on, but the same can be said about any country including Canada, the USA, Britain, France etc. Overall...one of the most enlightening books I have read in a long time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Imran Nasrullah

    Having just read the book and gone through the footnoted references, how can one deny that the US never misses an opportunity to throw reconciliation aside? Our own national collective memory regarding Iran only goes back to 1979 - ignoring US actions in the 1953 coup of Iran's democratically elected leader. And even if we do acknowledge the coup we summarily dismiss it as a non-event, expecting Iranians to get over it. Nothing happens in a vacuum, there is always cause and effect and the '79 Re Having just read the book and gone through the footnoted references, how can one deny that the US never misses an opportunity to throw reconciliation aside? Our own national collective memory regarding Iran only goes back to 1979 - ignoring US actions in the 1953 coup of Iran's democratically elected leader. And even if we do acknowledge the coup we summarily dismiss it as a non-event, expecting Iranians to get over it. Nothing happens in a vacuum, there is always cause and effect and the '79 Revolution can be traced back to the '53 coup. I hate to say this, but the US has always misread the Middle East and Persia, resorting to caricatures purported by Orientalists, and later, neoconservatives. In the end, you have to look at the US record of success in the Muslim world and ask how well our strategies actually work. How many years does a power have to be in government and operating before the US legitimizes Iran's right to govern itself. I am not sure the reviewer actually read the book thoroughly.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Murtaza

    The Leveretts knew they would get a lot of flak for writing this book, one which blatantly challenges established wisdom about Iran. They do debunk some of the myths which drive America's self-defeating Iran policy and articulate what is notable and unique about the IRI. Some parts of its public caricature in the West are inaccurate and damaging. Having said that I felt like they went a bit overboard by including people such as Akbar Ganji, Hamid Dabashi and Trita Parsi in the 'soft regime-chang The Leveretts knew they would get a lot of flak for writing this book, one which blatantly challenges established wisdom about Iran. They do debunk some of the myths which drive America's self-defeating Iran policy and articulate what is notable and unique about the IRI. Some parts of its public caricature in the West are inaccurate and damaging. Having said that I felt like they went a bit overboard by including people such as Akbar Ganji, Hamid Dabashi and Trita Parsi in the 'soft regime-change' camp. That's not an accurate depiction of their views as I have seen them. Looking back at the book now I was more inclined to share their views a few years earlier when I read it, but I no longer find their position very enlightening or responsible. As an Iranian I would feel rather insulted by this very uncritical apologia for the government.

  16. 4 out of 5

    صادق جعفر

    الكتاب ممتاز للتعرف على سوء السياسة الأمريكية الخارجية بالأدلة والوقائع، وللمنبهرين بالادارة الأمريكية الذين يعتقدون بأنها لا تمشي الا على أساس دراسات وبحوث وآراء الخبراء، والواقع أن هذا القول أقرب الى الهراء منه الى الواقع، ولعل مطالعة كتاب أحمد راشد Pakistan on the Brink الى جانب هذا الكتاب يعطي رؤية واضحة عن الضعف الشديد للسياسة الأمريكية الخارجية وفسادها، وكل ما يحدث في المنطقة اليوم من فشل المشاريع الأمريكية في المنطقة والعالم ما هو الا نتيجة مدللة فاقعة الدلالة على ذلك. كتاب رائع أنصح بقرا الكتاب ممتاز للتعرف على سوء السياسة الأمريكية الخارجية بالأدلة والوقائع، وللمنبهرين بالادارة الأمريكية الذين يعتقدون بأنها لا تمشي الا على أساس دراسات وبحوث وآراء الخبراء، والواقع أن هذا القول أقرب الى الهراء منه الى الواقع، ولعل مطالعة كتاب أحمد راشد Pakistan on the Brink الى جانب هذا الكتاب يعطي رؤية واضحة عن الضعف الشديد للسياسة الأمريكية الخارجية وفسادها، وكل ما يحدث في المنطقة اليوم من فشل المشاريع الأمريكية في المنطقة والعالم ما هو الا نتيجة مدللة فاقعة الدلالة على ذلك. كتاب رائع أنصح بقرائته، لأنه قد يشكل إضاءة للكثيرين حول ما مضى وما هو قادم على السياسسات الأمريكية في المنطقة عموماً وفي العلاقة مع إيران خصوصاً.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    My entire world would absolutely HATE this book (I'm from a decidedly pro-Israel American Jewish community with a large concentration of Iranian-American Jews thrown into the mix). Going to Tehran not only contradicts absolutely EVERYTHING ever taught and said about Iran (especially in the pro-Israel, American, Jewish, and Persian communities), it shows how it is demonstratively false - making it perhaps one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read. HIGHLY highly recommended - but only for My entire world would absolutely HATE this book (I'm from a decidedly pro-Israel American Jewish community with a large concentration of Iranian-American Jews thrown into the mix). Going to Tehran not only contradicts absolutely EVERYTHING ever taught and said about Iran (especially in the pro-Israel, American, Jewish, and Persian communities), it shows how it is demonstratively false - making it perhaps one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read. HIGHLY highly recommended - but only for those who are willing to have their world view challenged, because trust me, this book will challenge everything you think you know about Iran and American-Iranian relations.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    Though the conclusion that engagement with Iran will be beneficial to the US is a bad lens, this book I an essential read for understanding US foreign policy with the Islamic Republic. It is the only book of its kind, especially considering the political positions of the authors. The wests disgusting 5 year ok politics, history of brutality, and delusional white supremacist myths about the Middle East are laid bare. The book is also engaging and readable in a way few foreign policy books are. Hi Though the conclusion that engagement with Iran will be beneficial to the US is a bad lens, this book I an essential read for understanding US foreign policy with the Islamic Republic. It is the only book of its kind, especially considering the political positions of the authors. The wests disgusting 5 year ok politics, history of brutality, and delusional white supremacist myths about the Middle East are laid bare. The book is also engaging and readable in a way few foreign policy books are. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gary Turner

    I really, really appreciate the in-depth research put in to this book. Flynt and Hillary Leverett, thank you. If only our USA leaders would read this book. Actually, i do wonder if President Obama has read it. The resent news of normalization with Cuba makes one say, 'hum'. Now if we could try this with Iran.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dee Halzack

    Excellent, well-documented and -annotated book. Iran is NOT our enemy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    Iran's Islamist moral standing and leadership benefit from lacking nuclear weapons. Let America focus on soft power again.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caloway Gavin

    outstanding counter-argument to all the anti-Iran sabre rattling and the establshment of a real Iran policy serving long term US interests. Well documented, thoughtful and worthwhile read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dayazdani

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shmuel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  27. 4 out of 5

    Trent

  28. 5 out of 5

    Weiyu Chen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nelson Lamborn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kim

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