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Global Security Watch - Iran: A Reference Handbook [Hardcover]

by Thomas R. Mattair
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 30, 2008 027599483X 978-0275994839

This book explains the foreign policy decisions of Iranian leaders, as well as the foreign policy decisions of its neighbors and major world powers. Iran is not treated primarily as a problem to be dealt with by the United States and its friends. There is an effort to understand not only the concerns and policies of the United States and its allies, but also to understand Iranian concerns and policy. Thus, this book is better able than many others to explain the actions, reactions, and interactions of all the relevant actors and to explore the prospects for future war or peace.

Mattair provides a comprehensive analysis of Iran's relations with its neighbors and major world powers. He begins with a review of Iran's foreign relations from the time of Iran's founding in the 5th century B.C. through the Islamic era beginning in the mid-600's A.D., and the native dynasties that ruled in more recent centuries as Iran faced challenges from foreign powers such as the Ottoman Empire and Western colonial empires. The rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, from 1941 until 1979, is analyzed in detail, covering his efforts to deter aggression by the Soviet Union, forge an alliance with the United States, assert Iran's power in the Persian Gulf, and exercise Iran's economic power, particularly through its oil wealth. The bulk of the book, however, focuses on the foreign relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979, during the time in which Ayatollah Khomeini and his successors have ruled. The reasons for Iran's early revolutionary activism, its antagonism toward the United States and Israel, and its war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, are carefully examined. The reasons for international efforts to contain Iran, particularly efforts by the United States, are also analyzed. Iran's more pragmatic policies are explained, as well, including its close relations with Russia and China, its efforts to repair relations with Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states of the Gulf, its cooperation with U.S. efforts to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and its offer of comprehensive negotiations with the United States in May 2003. Finally, Mattair analyzes the current global debate about whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action are appropriate responses to Iran's nuclear programs, its role in Iraq and the Persian Gulf, and its resistance to Israel.

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Editorial Reviews


"This volume in the 'Global Security Watch' series makes an excellent attempt to explain the reasoning behind the

foreign policy decisions of the Iranian leadership, and those of its neighbors and major world powers that have

contributed to the current state of affairs…This work is a must read for policy makers, Middle East scholars and

students, and those wishing to have a better understanding of the US's relationship with Iran…Includes biographical profiles, a chronology, glossary, and pertinent documents…Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above in history and political science."




"Dr. Mattair has written a superb, insightful work that thoroughly lays out the issues, history, and options regarding our relationship with Iran. It is a must-read for those interested in this critical problem and for those decision-makers who will decide our course of action."


General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Former Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and former Special Envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2001-2002


Product Details

  • Series: Global Security Watch
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 027599483X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275994839
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,211,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book July 16, 2010
As a student of Iran, I found this book to be an excellent resource. The author begins by providing a concise history of the nation, and of its dealings with world powers. The book then builds upon this history to analyze the current issues surrounding the state, and provides insight into the different policy options (and their implications) that deal with these issues. This work has provided me a detailed understanding of this region and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to obtain the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend December 17, 2009
Extremely relevant and more critical than ever, Dr. Mattair's book provides a well-researched and comprehensive backdrop to understanding critical policy issues involving Iran. This book would be useful to both students of Iran as well as experts in the region. I would be greatly comforted if I knew Iranian foreign policy was being shaped by individuals as well-informed as Dr. Mattair.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need to read this March 24, 2009
Comprehensive and detailed, yet also an excellent introductory reference. Dr. Mattair's book provides the reader with historical context necessary to draw greater understanding of modern controversy and conflict in Iran and the greater region. Wholeheartedly agree with prior reviewers - a "must read"!
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