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From the Wall Street Journal reporter who's been breaking news on the historic and potentially disastrous Iran nuclear deal comes a deeply reported exploration of the country's decades-long power struggle with the United States--for readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower For more than a decade, the United States has been engaged in a war From the Wall Street Journal reporter who's been breaking news on the historic and potentially disastrous Iran nuclear deal comes a deeply reported exploration of the country's decades-long power struggle with the United States--for readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower For more than a decade, the United States has been engaged in a war with Iran as momentous as any other in the Middle East--a war all the more significant as it has largely been hidden from public view. Through a combination of economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain Iran's aspirations to become a nuclear power and dominate the region--what many view as the most serious threat to peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran has used regional instability to its advantage to undermine America's interests. The Iran Wars is an absorbing account of a battle waged on many levels--military, financial, and covert. Jay Solomon's book is the product of extensive in-depth reporting and interviews with all the key players in the conflict--from high-ranking Iranian officials to Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team. With a reporter's masterly investigative eye and the narrative dexterity of a great historian, Solomon shows how Iran's nuclear development went unnoticed for years by the international community only to become its top security concern. He catalogs the blunders of both the Bush and Obama administrations as they grappled with how to engage Iran, producing a series of both carrots and sticks. And he takes us inside the hotel suites where the 2015 nuclear agreement was negotiated, offering a frank assessment of the uncertain future of the U.S.-Iran relationship. This is a book rife with revelations, from the secret communications between the Obama administration and the Iranian government to dispatches from the front lines of the new field of financial warfare. For readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower, The Iran Wars exposes the hidden history of a conflict most Americans don't even realize is being fought, but whose outcome could have far-reaching geopolitical implications. Praise for The Iran Wars "The use of the word 'wars, ' plural, in the title of this illuminating book tells the story: U.S.-Iranian relations have been troubled for many years. This deeply researched account of negotiations and their implications makes an important contribution to understanding the short- and long-term consequences of how we manage this difficult relationship."--George P. Shultz, former secretary of state "An illuminating, deeply reported account from one of the best journalists writing about the Middle East today. Jay Solomon's The Iran Wars offers a front-row view of the spy games, assassinations, political intrigue and high-stakes diplomacy that have defined relations with one of America's most cunning and dangerous foes."--Joby Warrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS "A thorough yet concise survey of Iran's buildup of nuclear technology since the 1980s, its troubling exporting of Shiite insurgency in countries around it, and the changing American reaction. Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent [Jay] Solomon offers an evenhanded look at the backdoor schemes involving the building of Iran's nuclear weapons and the world players involved in and against its machinations."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)


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From the Wall Street Journal reporter who's been breaking news on the historic and potentially disastrous Iran nuclear deal comes a deeply reported exploration of the country's decades-long power struggle with the United States--for readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower For more than a decade, the United States has been engaged in a war From the Wall Street Journal reporter who's been breaking news on the historic and potentially disastrous Iran nuclear deal comes a deeply reported exploration of the country's decades-long power struggle with the United States--for readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower For more than a decade, the United States has been engaged in a war with Iran as momentous as any other in the Middle East--a war all the more significant as it has largely been hidden from public view. Through a combination of economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain Iran's aspirations to become a nuclear power and dominate the region--what many view as the most serious threat to peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran has used regional instability to its advantage to undermine America's interests. The Iran Wars is an absorbing account of a battle waged on many levels--military, financial, and covert. Jay Solomon's book is the product of extensive in-depth reporting and interviews with all the key players in the conflict--from high-ranking Iranian officials to Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team. With a reporter's masterly investigative eye and the narrative dexterity of a great historian, Solomon shows how Iran's nuclear development went unnoticed for years by the international community only to become its top security concern. He catalogs the blunders of both the Bush and Obama administrations as they grappled with how to engage Iran, producing a series of both carrots and sticks. And he takes us inside the hotel suites where the 2015 nuclear agreement was negotiated, offering a frank assessment of the uncertain future of the U.S.-Iran relationship. This is a book rife with revelations, from the secret communications between the Obama administration and the Iranian government to dispatches from the front lines of the new field of financial warfare. For readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower, The Iran Wars exposes the hidden history of a conflict most Americans don't even realize is being fought, but whose outcome could have far-reaching geopolitical implications. Praise for The Iran Wars "The use of the word 'wars, ' plural, in the title of this illuminating book tells the story: U.S.-Iranian relations have been troubled for many years. This deeply researched account of negotiations and their implications makes an important contribution to understanding the short- and long-term consequences of how we manage this difficult relationship."--George P. Shultz, former secretary of state "An illuminating, deeply reported account from one of the best journalists writing about the Middle East today. Jay Solomon's The Iran Wars offers a front-row view of the spy games, assassinations, political intrigue and high-stakes diplomacy that have defined relations with one of America's most cunning and dangerous foes."--Joby Warrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS "A thorough yet concise survey of Iran's buildup of nuclear technology since the 1980s, its troubling exporting of Shiite insurgency in countries around it, and the changing American reaction. Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent [Jay] Solomon offers an evenhanded look at the backdoor schemes involving the building of Iran's nuclear weapons and the world players involved in and against its machinations."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

30 review for The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    This is a well-researched book with a ton of information. It's a very heavy read but the author does a great job in making the subject matter interesting to the reader. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history, politics, war, current events or the Middle East--I have a keen interest in all those topics yet there was still a wealth of information that I was able to glean from reading this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for an advance copy of This is a well-researched book with a ton of information. It's a very heavy read but the author does a great job in making the subject matter interesting to the reader. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history, politics, war, current events or the Middle East--I have a keen interest in all those topics yet there was still a wealth of information that I was able to glean from reading this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for an advance copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Very thorough review and analysis of the past 35+ years of US-Iran engagement and policies. One realizes that due to the nature of the Iran theocracy, the US has never quite been sure how to interpret Iran's actions/intents and react accordingly. This culminates, of course, with the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. I must admit that I have always been opposed to the Iran deal, as I believe we gave too much for too little in return. Nothing in this book convinced me otherwise...if anything, I am even m Very thorough review and analysis of the past 35+ years of US-Iran engagement and policies. One realizes that due to the nature of the Iran theocracy, the US has never quite been sure how to interpret Iran's actions/intents and react accordingly. This culminates, of course, with the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. I must admit that I have always been opposed to the Iran deal, as I believe we gave too much for too little in return. Nothing in this book convinced me otherwise...if anything, I am even more concerned. A worthy read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mikkel

    As an absolute amateur on the subject this book offers a comprehensible yet fantastically readable introduction. Despite the flashy title, Solomon offers one of the most sober accounts of the events leading up to the nuclear deal in 2015 between P5+1 and Iran. One thing that struck me reading about the Obama administration's strategy leading up to the negotiations in Lausanne and Geneva was its complex and extremely delicate and well-thought out nature. The balance between economic sanctions serv As an absolute amateur on the subject this book offers a comprehensible yet fantastically readable introduction. Despite the flashy title, Solomon offers one of the most sober accounts of the events leading up to the nuclear deal in 2015 between P5+1 and Iran. One thing that struck me reading about the Obama administration's strategy leading up to the negotiations in Lausanne and Geneva was its complex and extremely delicate and well-thought out nature. The balance between economic sanctions serving other purposes than just punishment is especially striking in this time of a "slap another 25% tariff on 'em" presidency. Indeed, while the economic sanctions placed on Iran were 'draconian', every single one seemed to serve a very specific purpose leading up to the actual negotiations of a nuclear deal. A simple example was the fuel swap agreement, where Iran was forced to hand over 3/4 of their stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5% purity (to be used in a nuclear bomb). In return Russia and France would help provide uranium enriched to a degree where it could be used as nuclear fuel but not in a bomb. This type of calling the opponent's bluff (the bluff here being Khamenei stating that Iran does not seek an atomic bomb but only wants to develop nuclear capacities for civilian energy supply purposes) seems of a political ingenuity we can only dream of these days. Sadly. Another curious point in the process leading up to the Vienna agreement is the very similar pressure both sides of the negotiating table (John Kerry and US energy sec Ernest Moniz on one side and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Association of Iran and Mohammad Zarif, foreign minister) were facing. While the US side had to manage idiocies like Republican senator Tom Cotton sending a letter directly to Ayatollah Khamenei proclaiming that the White House had no authority to sign a deal without the support of the Congress and that a future president could scrap the deal with the stroke of a pen; potentially tanking the delicate diplomatic effort made by the negotiators. On the other side, Zarif and Salehi faced several outbursts by Ayatollah Khamenei which completely blindsided the negotiating team. The best example is from July 2015 when Khamenei publicly stated that Iran sought enrichment capacities almost 20 times the size proposed by the Americans and already accepted by both the Iranian negotiators in Vienna. A final and more general note concerns the general foreign policy approach to Iran implemented by the Obama administration. Where previous administrations (most (in-)famously the George W. Bush years of regime change) sought to engage a moderate political opposition inside (but more often outside) Iran, Obama instead wanted to establish a dialogue directly with Khamenei and first Ahmadinejad and later Hassan Rouhani. I believe both approaches hold their own merit (the first more idealistic than the latter) but contrast it once more to the current state of affairs where there seems to be no course at all. Can we call a grown-up, please?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dawson

    Jay Solomon’s The Iran Wars tilts heavily towards a confrontational approach to Iran. Light on both analysis of Iran’s strategic goals and the regional context, he cherry picks events and perspectives to make the Iran Nuclear Agreement seem destabilizing and harmful. He glosses over the fact that without the agreement Iran would have the bomb or we would have attacked them. The deal is only a step in the right direction and taking more steps will be difficult. The US needs help understanding Ira Jay Solomon’s The Iran Wars tilts heavily towards a confrontational approach to Iran. Light on both analysis of Iran’s strategic goals and the regional context, he cherry picks events and perspectives to make the Iran Nuclear Agreement seem destabilizing and harmful. He glosses over the fact that without the agreement Iran would have the bomb or we would have attacked them. The deal is only a step in the right direction and taking more steps will be difficult. The US needs help understanding Iran so that we know where to pressure them and where to extend a hand. But this book’s preference for rhetoric over analysis fails to deliver such understanding and provides a rationale for simplistic, unreflective positions on Iran. The contains a great deal of solid information on US sanctions, the negotiation process and Iran’s support of various proxies in the region. It is a shame that such an informed and influential journalized spends so much ink stoking fear rather that increasing understanding. Here are a few examples: 2003 Iraq War: Solomon does a great job of describing Iran’s dual approach to the conflict. They supported the democratic process in Iraq because pro-Iranian Shiite candidates closely tied to the Iran kept winning. They simultaneously supported Shia insurgencies, training and arming fighters who accounted for 20% of the American deaths in Iraq. This is how Iran works. They shake with one hand while slashing out with a knife in the other. Doubling dealing is what they expect and respect. Our approach needs to understand this. The nuclear diplomacy worked because of the economic noose we squeezed around the country while talking. But how should we apply pressure now? Iran’s goals: Solomon’s says little about Iran’s goal beyond “to defeat the US or destroy Israel.” This doesn’t help us understand the country, which is critical to achieving our ends. Here is a simple version of the country’s goals: Iran seeks to enhance its regional and global stature; to promote its ideals, including Islamic democracy but it is distinct religiously (Shia vs. Sunni) and culturally (Arab vs. Persian) from most of its neighbors. It has chosen to attract other countries by aggression action with US and Israel. And so they: - Continuously harass Israel from via proxies. - Works to weaken Saudi Arabia, its only serious Arab opponent, to the extent that Riyadh can no longer oppose its regional expansion. - Keeps Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria fragmented along sectarian lines so that the secular Arab order will face colossal challenges whenever it manages to emerge. Their goal isn’t to defeat us as much as inflate themselves. Is there a different path for them to the influence that they seek? How might we encourage them to try it? Green Revolution: Solomon rightly points out that we had no idea the popular rejection of Iranian election outcome was coming. The Obama Administration took a stance of silence. It was consistent with their approach to the country. Solomon engages fantasy thinking when saying missed a tremendous opportunity. We have helped plenty of countries overthrow their leaders, but it takes planning, support and lots of lead-time. As horrific as Iran’s repression of the protestors was, perhaps our silence avoided a worse outcome. The protestors struggled against both a theocratic government and the military that controls almost half of the economy. Supporting the protestors was unlikely to uproot either power-base and may have just created another Syrian or Libyan catastrophe. I’m not arguing the Obama Administration made the right the decision but rather that Solomon’s description is idealistic and incomplete. His certainty that we missed an opportunity is founded on sand because he has given us so little content on Iran’s internal factions or external goals. He relies on some undergraduate hope that the people just need to rise up and over through the government. It is an argument made for use by American pundits on American TV but doesn’t help us understand Iran. Same ol’ partisan fights: We need to drop the Democratic/Republican split when discussing foreign relations. Far too often we use event overseas as fodder for political battles as home. This is dangerous as we end up acting based on internal politics rather than external realities. Solomon’s book suffers from this penchant as US mistakes under the Bush Administration get minimized while those under Obama’s get amplified. We would be better served by examining the interests of the entire country rather than one party at a time. Or how about we focus on the inherent weakness of switching approaches every 4 or 8 years? Our relationship with Iran two possible futures: Solomon rightly says that we don’t understand or trust Iran and that there are two possible futures for our relationship with Iran. He describes one future as greater conflict and mistrust. He hopes that future isn’t before us – but never states what the other future is! The other future never even gets named, never mind described. How about Iran positions itself as a trading hub, a cultural center, and a regional model, instead of as an opponent and threat. They build hospitals rather than bombs. We don’t know which future will develop. But if we maintain our bias towards confrontation, Iran is likely to remain an oppositional threat. My wish is that journalists such as Solomon spend more time discussing how to improve the situation rather than gear us up for war. The seeds of such an approach lie dormant in the book. The US’ dual strategy of diplomacy and tough sanctions worked. We must conduct open dialogue while tightening the screws. The hard part is to know where to place the screws. Solomon describes how effective General Petraeus is in combatting Iran’s use of IRAM weapons in Iraq. He knew the players, the tactics, and their intentions, and, therefore, developed a strong, effective deterrent. But such informed action is very rare in our dealing with Iran. We rarely know what is happening in the country, who has influence, what they want or how they plan to get it. This is the information so needed and the information that is missing in this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    The book exams the decades long strife between the United States and Iran and attempts to examine the issues leading up to the Obama-Kerry nuclear deal with Iran. The author does not exam the legal on Constitutional issues involved in the deal. While well written as one with degrees in both political science and history, I find the work less than objective although well worth reading. This was a free review copy obtained through Goodreads.com.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lenore

    I agree with others that have said this is a heavy read. It took me a number of weeks to read, but I also had my iPad at the ready to look up terms & do my own additional research / verification. There is a trove of data to absorb, mostly delivered in a dry but very straightforward manner. If you have any interest about Iran & its influence on us & the Middle East, this is the place to go. It will make you hungry from more. I received this book in a give-away.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Dunham

    Fantastic! A must read for learning and better understanding of the tinderbox that is the Middle East and Iran's influence in the never ending conflict. The author is particularly objective and doesn't seem to lean one way or the other in the political aisle. Can't recommend this book enough or praise it more. It's just superb history and journalism. Fantastic! A must read for learning and better understanding of the tinderbox that is the Middle East and Iran's influence in the never ending conflict. The author is particularly objective and doesn't seem to lean one way or the other in the political aisle. Can't recommend this book enough or praise it more. It's just superb history and journalism.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    When the young people of Iran hit the streets in protest about suspicious election returns in 2009, the United States was unexpectedly quiet. For years DC's establishment had voiced ominous desires to effect regime change in Iran, and now an opportunity had presented itself. All that was needed was a little stoking of the fires, passing of intelligence and funds to the right people. And yet..nothing happened, and soon the leaders of the "Green Movement" were in jail. What no one realized then wa When the young people of Iran hit the streets in protest about suspicious election returns in 2009, the United States was unexpectedly quiet. For years DC's establishment had voiced ominous desires to effect regime change in Iran, and now an opportunity had presented itself. All that was needed was a little stoking of the fires, passing of intelligence and funds to the right people. And yet..nothing happened, and soon the leaders of the "Green Movement" were in jail. What no one realized then was that the Obama administration had already begun its efforts to move toward some kind of concordance with Iran, and that this silence was a show of good faith, an indication that the administration was serious about its efforts to establish a working relationship with the Islamic Republic. Much of DC's foreign policy in the middle east from 2001 to 2016 was conducted with an eye towards Iran, including the American response to Syria, and The Iran Wars follows two presidents' attempts to find a solution to the Iranian problem, through war, finance, and diplomacy. The middle east is a complicated place, to say the least, with active ethnic, religious, and political conflicts. Iran's role in all this is poorly understood by many Americans; in addition to Persians and Arabs being two separate ethnic groups with a competitive history, the version of Islam which is the state religion in Iran is a minority everywhere else, and viewed with contempt by Saudi-held Arabia, al-Queda and its would-be successor, ISIS. Iran's sole ally in the Arab world, Syria, is an important support for it, and a source of continuing conflict between Iran and the west. The events of September 11, 2001, as tragic as they were, presented an opportunity for American-Iranian relations to begin anew, with a common enemy in al-Queda and its drug trade. What opportunity there may have been, never developed by skeptical aides, was dead by the time DC chose to invade Iraq, with the intent of weakening Iran's influence in the region by freeing its Shiite majority from Saddam's rule and giving them the opportunity to protest against the ayatollahs. Instead, that Shiite majority aligned with Iran more closely as sectarian war erupted in the region, That conflict was promoted by both Syria and Iran to prevent American power from growing in Iraq, as Assad promoted Sunni militias in the north and Iran promoted Shiia power in the south. Their role in promoting Iraqi instability made both enemies in DC and abroad. Still worse, Iran counted itself the implacable foe of Israel and Although some in DC ominously hinted that military options were fully on the table for addressing Iran, with so many resources mired in two civil wars, few actually proposed it. Bush chose instead to develop a third option: disrupting Iran's nuclear program through cyber warfare. (See Countdown to Zero Day for a comprehensive history of that.) Solomon only barely mentions this, but moves quickly on to Obama's two-track attempt to reach some kind of concordance with Iran. Obama moved to isolate Iran financially by working with China and the powers of Europe to effect heavy sanctions and remove Iran from the global economy, while at the same time reaching out to the Iranian people through public speeches, and Iranian leadership through an Omani intermediary who saw his vocation as being a broker of peace between DC and Iran. Both tracks meant compromise, as DC had to give more than it would like to prove to both its international partners and Iran that it was serious about effecting a deal. It also meant that Obama felt compelled to intervene in Libya to indicate to Iran that he was serious about enforcing red lines, but had to walk back his threats against Assad so as not to drive the Syrian ruler's allies from the negotiating table. Although the deal itself was hailed as a triumph, with one historian optimistically chronicling it in a volume called Losing an Enemy, Jay Solomon concludes this history with a warning. If DC and Iran do truly establish a lasting peace, there will be disruption to contend with. The Saudi family in particular may aggressively court other alliances, and whatever influence DC has over its codependent partner will lessen. The Iran wars are not over, writes Solomon; this deal, as promising as it sounds, is only the start of a new chapter. Solomon was quickly proven correct, and in 2018 it is sad to read about the years of dogged labor Kerry, Obama, Mohammad Zarif, and Sultan Qaboos poured into making the deal, including the long labors with Europe and China, now squandered, and US diplomatic credibility seriously reduced. For me, this was a valuable book to read, illustrating why Obama reacted toward Syria as he did, and why Syria is such an obsessive target for the west in the first place. Related: The Twilight War: The Secret of America's Thirty Year War with Iran, David Crist Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, Kim Zetter Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of Power, David Sanger Iran and the United States: An Insider's View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace, Seyed Hossain Mousavian

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Recommended for: People interested in middle eastern regional politics; anyone interested in the JCPOA, but not interested in the heavy-duty science behind it. Stuff that was awesome: The broad overview of the history and regional politics that led to the agreement of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA) Stuff that was annoying: I wish there had been a little more detail about what the JCPOA actually did include, about the sunset clauses written into it, and about Recommended for: People interested in middle eastern regional politics; anyone interested in the JCPOA, but not interested in the heavy-duty science behind it. Stuff that was awesome: The broad overview of the history and regional politics that led to the agreement of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA) Stuff that was annoying: I wish there had been a little more detail about what the JCPOA actually did include, about the sunset clauses written into it, and about the role of countries other than the U.S., Iran, and France; particularly, he could have explored the role of the EU. Admittedly, this desire is borne of current politics, which this book could not have covered. Also, there were a couple of errors in place names: the author wrote about Syria and the conflict continuing there and listed a place called Hassekh - I think he meant Hassekeh (which is still a cruddy transliteration, but whatever). He also wrote about U.S. national laboratories, including the one at Oakwood, TN. There isn't one at Oakwood, but there is one in Oak Ridge, TN. Despite the U.S. having withdrawn from the international JCPOA, Iran and the other countries have remained in the plan. If anything, the U.S.'s withdrawal should increase, rather than diminish, the U.S. public's interest in understanding the JCPOA and Iran's current program. This book gives a really thorough overview of the negotiations, including a lot of 20th century history, that led up to our current agreements with Iran, specifically the agreements about their nuclear program. It's well-written and broken into easily-digestible chapters and sub-sections. The book is scoped well - it easily could have delved into ancient history and politics in the region or into a deep discussion of the details of Iran's nuclear program and the science of the agreement, but didn't. This is, I think, a strength of the book. It already includes a lot of information - these extra details would have been mostly superfluous and would not have contributed greatly to the reader's understanding.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Z

    Interesting book presuming the historical representations are largely true After reading this book I can’t help but scratch my head over what appears to be divergent tracks taken by President Trump. On the one hand, this history makes a strong case in support of Trump’s decision to bag the Iran nuclear deal. On the other hand, his recent decision to bail out of Syria appears inconsistent with the apparent Iranian threat. Do I believe that Iran is a threat and does this book do a good job demonstr Interesting book presuming the historical representations are largely true After reading this book I can’t help but scratch my head over what appears to be divergent tracks taken by President Trump. On the one hand, this history makes a strong case in support of Trump’s decision to bag the Iran nuclear deal. On the other hand, his recent decision to bail out of Syria appears inconsistent with the apparent Iranian threat. Do I believe that Iran is a threat and does this book do a good job demonstrating the extent of that threat? I think so. The fact that it was written pre-Trump and doesn’t even mention him seems to mitigate an argument that this telling is all about politics. In any case, I think it was a worthwhile read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly Dolezalek

    I only gave this book one star because I don't know how to give it zero. It probably has useful information in it. The problem is that it presents every bit of information about Iran as though the author has never read anything or talked to anyone that isn't the historical equivalent of Tom Clancy. I wanted to learn about how the Iran deal came about, including its good points and bad ones; I didn't want to read a polemic about how it was the worst deal ever and Iran is a bunch of terrorists. I I only gave this book one star because I don't know how to give it zero. It probably has useful information in it. The problem is that it presents every bit of information about Iran as though the author has never read anything or talked to anyone that isn't the historical equivalent of Tom Clancy. I wanted to learn about how the Iran deal came about, including its good points and bad ones; I didn't want to read a polemic about how it was the worst deal ever and Iran is a bunch of terrorists. I highly recommend finding a different book whose author is capable of imagining geopolitical relations among nations as just that, not as a morality play in which Iran and the Obama administrations are the villains.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Didn't write a full review for this book because I really don't have much to say about it. It was hard to get through and did not hold my attention as much as it should have. I found it overwhelmingly dry and lacking in intrigue. My favorite parts were the parts where Solomon inserted himself and talked about interviewing the Syrian president and other important figures. Overall though, unless one is really into dry Middle-Eastern history, I wouldn't go for this. Read more like this review on my Didn't write a full review for this book because I really don't have much to say about it. It was hard to get through and did not hold my attention as much as it should have. I found it overwhelmingly dry and lacking in intrigue. My favorite parts were the parts where Solomon inserted himself and talked about interviewing the Syrian president and other important figures. Overall though, unless one is really into dry Middle-Eastern history, I wouldn't go for this. Read more like this review on my blog, http://www.bookwormbasics.blogspot.com

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Deodhar

    Well researched book mostly dealing with authors US centric view of events between 9/11 till recent Iran deal. The book is narrative and enlightening easy read of historical chain of events. Again it is important to note that the view is US centric rather than neutral. That is not a fault just a comment. We also need to understand the Iranian and Russian version of events to make better sense of the issue.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Tollemache

    "The Iran Wars" by Jay Solomon makes a perfect sequel to David Crist's "The Twighlight War" in coverage in the extensice multi-front covert war between the US and the Iranians. Picking up in the late 90s and following through the course of the early years after 9/11 and Afghanistan and on into "The Iran Wars" by Jay Solomon makes a perfect sequel to David Crist's "The Twighlight War" in coverage in the extensice multi-front covert war between the US and the Iranians. Picking up in the late 90s and following through the course of the early years after 9/11 and Afghanistan and on into

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Lodhi

    A realistic view of not just US-Iran relations but the fight to establish sovereign power in Middle East. It also depicts the volatility of today's world wherein sanctions are imposed by Western powers and it's implications on Iranian economy & ultimately it's impact on Asian countries like India, Pakistan, China, etc. Must read to know the present geopolitics in Middle East. A realistic view of not just US-Iran relations but the fight to establish sovereign power in Middle East. It also depicts the volatility of today's world wherein sanctions are imposed by Western powers and it's implications on Iranian economy & ultimately it's impact on Asian countries like India, Pakistan, China, etc. Must read to know the present geopolitics in Middle East.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    Denser than the normal journalistic reading I'm used to, but by the end very informative background to a historic agreement. Eerie to read it now, just a few years later, that things have fallen apart. Denser than the normal journalistic reading I'm used to, but by the end very informative background to a historic agreement. Eerie to read it now, just a few years later, that things have fallen apart.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sunil

    Deep and detailed insights into how international diplomacy is carried out and how the various players exercise their influence.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arya Ptb

    Neocon propaganda, but not bereft of perspective. A pleasant read, but take everything with a grain of salt.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Iranian negotiators pull U.S. pants down.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason Sands

    Good overview This is a good overview of US-Iran relations and of the negotiation process surrounding the Obama Administration’s Iran nuclear deal.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aviral Mudgal

    It majorily focusses on Obama and Bush administration, you should have some prior knowledge about Middle East. Only then read it

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abhilasha Gupta

    I would know if it is a worthwhile read if I could only read it beyond a few pages (actually lines) at a time. I found it to be an incredibly difficult read and just could not finish it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Greynomad

    Well written and very enjoyable

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric Randolph

    I considered him a hawkish journalist but found this to be a relatively dispassionate (and extremely comprehensive) account of recent US-Iran relations, which was a bit of a disappointment since the book could do with a bit more analysis or deeper thinking -- a lack which bodes well for his journalism but makes for a slightly dry read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mlilley16

    Must read Provides in depth analysis of the most important political issue facing the US and the free world for the foreseeable future- how to deal w a hostile Iran, who was the the brink of collapse and resuscitated by Obama - in order to leave a legacy or foster a safer world? Will it work...? Only time will tell.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allen Roth

    Breathtaking Revelations of How Iran Won Jay Solomon is a Wall Street Journal reporter who covered the war in Iraq and the Iran nuclear negotiations. With a reporter's objectivity, Solomon documents serious miscalculations by the Bush and Obama Administrations that have solidified the political standing of the radical Islamic regime in Iran. To his credit, Solomon explains how the Bush Administration started down the road to expanding Iran's influence in the Middle East. Solomon documents the fai Breathtaking Revelations of How Iran Won Jay Solomon is a Wall Street Journal reporter who covered the war in Iraq and the Iran nuclear negotiations. With a reporter's objectivity, Solomon documents serious miscalculations by the Bush and Obama Administrations that have solidified the political standing of the radical Islamic regime in Iran. To his credit, Solomon explains how the Bush Administration started down the road to expanding Iran's influence in the Middle East. Solomon documents the failure of the Bush Administration to prepare for an Iranian takeover in Iraq after the United States toppled Saddam Hussein. The strategists in the Bush Administration thought toppling Saddam would put undermine Iran. Instead Iran gobbled up most of Iraq. One Bush official, Michael Rubin blew the whistle on the Iran takeover but his superiors ignored him. Israel tried to divert Bush from targeting Iraq by revealing that Iran had the only advanced nuclear program in the region. But Bush continued on the disastrous course of invading Iraq. The new Obama Administration came to office looking to repair relations with Iran, at any price. This led to Obama turning his back on the millions of Iranians protesting against the despotic regime of the Ayatollahs. Obama, Clinton, Kerry convinced themselves that Iran would become a force for peace if the United States brought Iran into the community of nations by showering it with economic rewards and concluding a nuclear arms deal. During the nuclear talks Iran received $700 million a month. Solomon shows how this infusion of money helped the Ayatollahs save their country from economic catastrophe. Consummation of the nuclear deal led to the Islamic Republic receiving an additional $150 billion dollars. It also guaranteed that Iran could develop nuclear weapons legally. Contrary to statements by the Obama Administration, the nuclear deal has not brought moderates to power in Iran. Iran continues to be the largest State sponsor of terrorism in the world. Solomon shows how Obama's commitment to a wrong headed view of Iran's intentions is endangering our country. He describes Obama as having an "obsessive commitment" to the nuclear deal which "ranks among the riskiest diplomatic bets made by an American President in modern U.S. history." At this stage Iran is clearly reaping the benefits of the deal. Solomon does a superb job explaining Iran's expanding influence in Syria and the diminishing of American influence in the Middle East. Iran and Russia are the big winners in the wake of Obama's policies. The Iran Wars is a valuable guide to America's descend into chaos in the Middle East.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Devin Croft

    Started reading it after seeing the author interviewed on PBS Newshour. Well worth reading for anyone interested in current affairs, especially foreign policy. Many actions and decisions by Obama concerning the middle east during the lengthy period of secret negotiations are clarified after reading the account. Obama made many trade-offs in pursuing the nuclear deal and one will wonder if they were all worth it. If it lasts and continues with IAEA verification then it does push back any possible Started reading it after seeing the author interviewed on PBS Newshour. Well worth reading for anyone interested in current affairs, especially foreign policy. Many actions and decisions by Obama concerning the middle east during the lengthy period of secret negotiations are clarified after reading the account. Obama made many trade-offs in pursuing the nuclear deal and one will wonder if they were all worth it. If it lasts and continues with IAEA verification then it does push back any possible Iranian nuclear weapon for many years. The Stuxnet virus seems to have delayed weapon development by as much as 2 years with the destruction it caused. Reports in the news about the USAF and Israel defense forces provided estimates that they might push back Iran's weapon development by as much as 2 years with comprehensive bombing campaigns against known sites. But they admit that would not eliminate such programs and they would then be hardened against future attack and there would never be any monitoring again by the outside world. And there would be a lengthy war much different than Iraq of Afghanistan. So diplomatic and military options carry risks and trade-offs which as Solomon admits, provides are no 'good' options, just less worse ones for western leaders when it comes to Iran.

  28. 5 out of 5

    vin

    Main take away is, after a decade of crippling economic sanctions bringing Iran to the edge of collapse, Obama squandered this opportunity to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear bomb for a deal that only kicked the can down the road for some other president to face. His desire to have some sort of foreign policy legacy resulted in a lifting of the sanctions, billions of dollars sent to a country that chants death to America, and the backing down of American red lines on Iran’s ability to cr Main take away is, after a decade of crippling economic sanctions bringing Iran to the edge of collapse, Obama squandered this opportunity to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear bomb for a deal that only kicked the can down the road for some other president to face. His desire to have some sort of foreign policy legacy resulted in a lifting of the sanctions, billions of dollars sent to a country that chants death to America, and the backing down of American red lines on Iran’s ability to create a bomb, all for a deal that allowed Iran to continue missile development and keep their nuclear sites. All it did was prevent Iran from making nuclear bomb material for 10 years or so. Even IF Iran abided by the deal, what happens in 10 years? Not Obamas problem. Thankfully Trump ended this disaster.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Received a copy from Goodreads Giveaways. This is well written and researched, informative and a balanced perspective on the Iran wars. I totally agree with the Author's conclusion. The book gives an excellent picture of Iran's interaction in the Middle East, as well as Obama and his Administration's schizophrenic approach to Iran and Iranian policies. As time continues to show, the Iranian nuclear agreement was rushed/expedited apparently for Obama's personal interests towards his legacy. This ap Received a copy from Goodreads Giveaways. This is well written and researched, informative and a balanced perspective on the Iran wars. I totally agree with the Author's conclusion. The book gives an excellent picture of Iran's interaction in the Middle East, as well as Obama and his Administration's schizophrenic approach to Iran and Iranian policies. As time continues to show, the Iranian nuclear agreement was rushed/expedited apparently for Obama's personal interests towards his legacy. This appears to be more important that the interests of the United States. Definitely recommend for anyone interested in current events or the Middle East.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arlene Hoffman

    Great read offering real insight into the behind the scenes dealings. Interesting, informative and eye opening. The sad reality is that this Iran deal will be an enormous mistake and the twists and turns since the deal was signed are more proof of the disastrous consequences that will ensue. Very sobering and saddened to finish this book on 9-11.

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