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

(source: MacMillan)
Friday, January 18, 2013

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.

 

Book Excerpts

Introduction

Will the United States Lose the Middle east . . . or Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran?

More than thirty years after a revolutionary movement inspired and guided by Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ruhollah Khomeini forced the last shah from Iran’s Peacock Throne and assumed power, most of what even well-educated Americans think they know about the political order that Khomeini and his followers established—the Islamic Republic of Iran—is wrong. In this case, ignorance is not bliss but a source of grave danger, for the United States is courting strategic

Read the full excerpt


Reviews

Praise for Going to Tehran

"One needn’t agree with every word in Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s new book, Going to Tehran, to grasp its basic truth: U.S. Iran policy is delusional. To shatter this ‘sorry Scheme of Things,’ as the Persian poet describes it, will require a U.S. President with courage, audacity and political skill. It will also require a plan not too different from what the Leveretts lay out."
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell

"This brilliant book eviscerates the American case for continued belligerence toward Iran.  The evidence of an Iranian bomb is just not there, the Leveretts write, and American diplomacy should be focused on resolving the conflict, and not expanding it.  There is a precedent—Nixon and Kissinger's stunning reversal of policy toward China in 1971 that produced the Shanghai Communique, with its public call for mutual respect and a reduction of tensions.  It is time, the book concludes, for an American president to reach for peace and go to Tehran."
Seymour Hersh, staff writer, The New Yorker

"This courageous and important book contains the three elements that are necessary for a rethinking of US policy towards Iran: a rigorous critique of the intellectual foundations of present strategy; a devastating expose of misreporting of Iran in the Western media; and a set of bold ideas for how the present dangerous impasse in relations can be broken. It should be essential reading for policymakers and

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"One needn’t agree with every word in Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s new book, Going to Tehran, to grasp its basic truth: U.S. Iran policy is delusional. To shatter this ‘sorry Scheme of Things,’ as the Persian poet describes it, will require a U.S. President with courage, audacity and political skill. It will also require a plan not too different from what the Leveretts lay out."
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell

"This brilliant book eviscerates the American case for continued belligerence toward Iran.  The evidence of an Iranian bomb is just not there, the Leveretts write, and American diplomacy should be focused on resolving the conflict, and not expanding it.  There is a precedent—Nixon and Kissinger's stunning reversal of policy toward China in 1971 that produced the Shanghai Communique, with its public call for mutual respect and a reduction of tensions.  It is time, the book concludes, for an American president to reach for peace and go to Tehran."
Seymour Hersh, staff writer, The New Yorker

"This courageous and important book contains the three elements that are necessary for a rethinking of US policy towards Iran: a rigorous critique of the intellectual foundations of present strategy; a devastating expose of misreporting of Iran in the Western media; and a set of bold ideas for how the present dangerous impasse in relations can be broken. It should be essential reading for policymakers and journalists alike."
Anatol Lieven, professor of War Studies, King's College London; senior fellow of the New America Foundation

"Armchair warriors howling to have a go at Iran will denounce this book: you can count on it. Those who have had a bellyful of needless wars will have a different view. Going to Tehran is balanced, sober, impressively documented, and rich in insight. As an antidote to the warmongering that passes for analysis of Iran and US-Iranian relations, its appearance could hardly be more welcome or more timely."
Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War


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