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Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran Hardcover – January 8, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the war of words over Iran's nuclear ambitions threatens to spiral into violent conflict, objective analysis of the Islamic Republic's policies, intentions, and capabilities has never been more necessary-or more difficult to find. The Leveretts, who since leaving government service have become increasingly enthusiastic proselytizers on behalf of Tehran, offer an analysis, but not one easily classified as objective. Fashioning their latest polemic as a shot across the bow of the prevailing orthodoxy regarding "the most critical country in the world's most critical region," they call for a reset in relations and substantial engagement rather than saber-rattling and sanctions. Although some of their points are well-taken, they cast every assertion by an Iranian official in glowing terms-Ahmedinejad, they say, could not possibly be seeking nuclear weapons, since, in his view, they violate Islamic morality. They accuse the American government of "shameless duplicity" but their celebration of Iran's "significant progress toward the integration of Islamic governance and participatory politics" obfuscates the difficulties standing in the way of rapprochement. Illus. Agent: Andrew Stuart, The Stuart Agency.

From Booklist

Most libraries will want this book—but be prepared for polarized reader response. The Leveretts have served key foreign-policy institutions: the State Department and National Security Council (both), and the CIA (Flynt). Flynt Leverett is an international-affairs professor at Penn State; Hillary, a senior lecturer at American University. Their analysis of U.S.-Iran relations challenges Washington’s conventional wisdom. Going to Tehran maintains the U.S. has misunderstood the Islamic Republic of Iran since its 1979 revolutionary inception, erecting myths (of irrationality, illegitimacy, and isolation) as the basis for a foreign policy that ill serves U.S. interests. The authors address each myth in detail, arguing that Iran’s government is neither irrational nor illegitimate, and that U.S.-led isolation will never produce the pro-U.S., pro-democracy government its supporters promise. In fact, they argue, the best analogy for U.S.-Iran relations today is U.S.-China relations in the 1970s; what we need, the Leveretts suggest, is twenty-first-century equivalents of Kissinger and Nixon, traveling to Tehran to take steps toward a sound relationship to replace a half-century of mythmaking. --Mary Carroll

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094190
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Igor Biryukov on January 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well-written, frank, and courageous book. The master idea is that there are unpleasant times ahead for the US unless it changes its policy from a hegemony-oriented policy to a modus-vivendi-oriented policy. The conclusion of the book is: it's time for an American president to go to Tehran.

It offers an unorthodox analysis of Iran and is a scathing criticism of the US's foreign policy. The authors argue that the US is simply on the wrong trajectory leading to very unpleasant outcomes. The Grand Strategy of the Obama's administration (like the admins before him) has been to effectively a "regime change" in Iran. It has been endorsed and pursued semi-silently, not openly. The strategy is to topple the Iranian regime "by other means" and replace it with a puppet regime made of the Iranian émigrés, cranks, Saudi-backed militant lunatics and double-agents. This unpleasant compote we can observe today in Syria. The strategy is extremely ill-advised. The "other means" are: 1] a run on the Iranian currency 2] sanctions and embargoes against Iran 3] cyber-weapons and "worms" targeting Iran's nuclear facilities 4] targeted assassinations of top Iranian nuclear scientists. 5] sanctions against Russia, its banks and firms doing business with Iran.

This strategy may prove successful. But the collateral damage will be very unpleasant for the US. Apart of putting the world of international relations in flames, one of the victims will be the relations with Russia -- my former country -- which has been already much frayed because of the conflict in Syria and the US's support of the anti-Putin opposition last year.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Dante on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The U.S has been adamant on establishing itself as a world power by attempting to destroy any nation that fails to comply with its views and interests. The 50 countries that the U.S has attempted to sabotage or destroy since 1949 (be that openly as it did in Iraq, or covertly as it did in Latin American) bear witness to this. The world may be at the brink of full scale war if the U.S does not adjust its policy. It is failing as a superpower and must begin to change its foreign policy, namely its approach to Iran and the Middle East. The risk is just too great for the U.S to continue its hegemonic practices.

It is actually refreshing for a change to see two real experts who are prepared to tell Americans some unpleasant truths about US foreign policy; and more importantly the truth about Iran. It provides a realistic portrayal of the positions of both the U.S and Iran, and shows how much can change if the U.S would adopt a more positive, non-confrontational stance towards this great power.
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful By C. Safdari on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unless you've read this book, frankly you have no business having any opinions on US-Iran relations. The authors, each experienced in the actual conduct of US foreign policy and not mere armchair generals or think-tank denizens, meticulously define and then debunk common myths and the "conventional wisdom" about Iran prevalent in Washington foreign policy circles and in the the mainstream media, and show how these myths have thus far accomplished nothing to serve US interests except to put the US and Iran on the path of yet another needless confrontation in the Mideast built on lies. Their arguments are fully backed up with extensive citations to sources, and they lay out a comprehensive case for a new approach to Iran along the lines of "Nixon going to China," by substituting realism for wishful thinking. It takes intellectual bravery to go against the tide on what has become a deeply polarized and emotion-laden issue. This book stands out by far amongst all the ill-researched and agenda-driven books on US-Iran relations. 5 stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dave on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The dogs of war in the U.S. media bark and, in true Don Quixote fashion, it’s a sign that authors Hillary and Flynt Leverett are on the move. In their electrifying new book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the former National Security Council experts – who were forced out of their positions for their opposition to Washington’s war-mongering and occupation – take on the growing myths told by the U.S. government about Iran.

Liberals, conservatives and centrists in the U.S. media hysterically attacked Going to Tehran as soon as it came out. The Wall Street Journal derided the Leveretts as “Washington’s most outspoken defenders of the mullahs,” in a particularly nasty hit-piece called “I Heart Khomenei.” Laura Secor of the New York Times called the book “one-sided” and a “mirror image” of the anti-Iran propaganda churned out by the U.S. government. Foreign Affairs claims they “overargue” their case for ending U.S. hostilities. The Weekly Standard accused them of “paranoid dogmatism,” and The New Republic called the book “an act of ventriloquism,” presumably with the Iranian government as the puppet master.

When I see a book receive universal condemnation from the corporate-owned media, I take it as a sign that I need to read it. And ultimately every anti-war activist in the U.S. owes it to the people of Iran to check out this well-researched, persuasive and highly readable case against war with Iran. After all, we live in a country where Argo, a ludicrous xenophobic hit-piece on the Iranian Revolution, wins the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2012 Oscars. As the Leveretts show in their book, the U.S.
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