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Hidden Iran


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About the Author

Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he concentrates his work on Iran, Islamist movements, and Middle Eastern politics. He has held positions at the National Defense University, Yale, and Berkeley. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, and the International Herald Tribune.


In this well-constructed sketch of American-Iranian relations, Takeyh (senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) critiques the U.S.'s unnuanced approach to Iran since its 1979 revolution as well as the failure of successive administrations to note that decades of sanctions and containment haven't significantly changed Iranian behavior. A picture emerges of a complex society marked by cultural struggle and compromise, as Takeyh criticizes the perception of Iranian politics as monolithic. He concludes that the "chimera of regime change" must finally be rejected, and pointedly observes that "it is rare... for a state that views nuclear weapons as fundamental to its security interests to dispense with such weapons under relentless threats." Takeyh urges America to look beyond President Ahmadinejad to such institutions as Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council and Foreign Ministry, each of which distanced themselves from Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric. Takeyh even suggests areas in which Iran and the U.S. might forge a "selective partnership"-not least their shared need for a stable Iraq. Though he occasionally slips into a too-casual assumption of the inevitability of his forecasts, Takeyh (The Receding Shadow of the Prophet) provides a well-argued, seldom heard viewpoint. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Savvy and accessible . . . Takeyh has written a shrewd, timely guide to Iran's schisms, interests and ambitions, as well as offering a bracing and often nicely acerbic look at U.S.-Iranian relations."
--Warren Bass, "The Washington Post Book World"
""Hidden Iran" is a skillful policy brief, written in a smooth, graceful style that is accessible to nonspecialists. Takeyh does not underestimate how difficult it is for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America to find ways of dealing with each other, but he demonstrates persuasively that a policy of more of the same will only produce more of the same."
--Gary Sick, "Foreign Affairs"

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