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Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History (Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books) [Paperback]

by John W. Limbert
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 2009 1601270437 978-1601270436
John Limbert steps up with a pragmatic yet positive assessment of how to engage Iran. Through four detailed case studies of past successes and failures, he draws lessons for today’s negotiators and outlines 14 principles to guide the American who finds himself in a negotiation—commercial, political, or other—with an Iranian counterpart.

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Editorial Reviews


"This is an excellent book and an important contribution to what is rapidly becoming the central issue in American foreign policy. Limbert draws on years of professional and personal experience to explore and explain the problematic nature of Iran-U.S. relations and to offer coherent and constructive solutions for the future. Limbert is in the enviable position of being able to combine the perspective of a historian with the immediacy of a diplomat who has been at the forefront of America’s tragic relationship with Iran, to provide a penetrating yet accessible account of the relationship. This book should be essential reading for students and practitioners alike."

"A must-read for anyone who hopes for (or fears) an American reengagement with Iran. Superb diplomatic history focused on lessons learned rather than festering grievances. I hope Iranians read this as well as Americans. Limbert is one of our few genuine Iran experts."

"Written by an author intimately familiar with the Persian language, history, and customs, this unique work addresses and sets aside many false but widespread preconceptions about Iran, Iranians, and Iranian culture. A useful addition to the literature on Iranian negotiating technique, style, and expectations, and a stand-alone book on the subject, this study is very timely. Iran has emerged as a regional power; on many crucial issues the United States and Iran are at a loggerhead; and the new American administration intends to launch on direct engagement with Iran. For Americans, understanding Iranian negotiating behavior is clearly critical at this juncture."

About the Author

John W. Limbert was appointed Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy in August 2006 after a 33-year career in the United States Foreign Service. He was president of the American Foreign Service Association (2003-05) and ambassador to Mauritania (2000-03). Ambassador Limbert holds the Department of State’s highest award—the Distinguished Service Award—and the Award for Valor, which he received in 1981 after fourteen months as a hostage in Iran. He has a PhD from Harvard University in history and Middle Eastern studies and has taught in Iranian high schools and at the University of Shiraz. He has written numerous articles on Middle Eastern subjects and has authored Iran: At War with History and Shiraz in the Age of Hafez.

Product Details

  • Series: Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: United States Institute of Peace (September 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601270437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601270436
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BATNAS and what that's all about! May 31, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think that if anyone has the right to an opinion about Iran US relations and how to improve them, it is Ambassador John Limbert. He was held for 14 months in the former US Embassy in Tehran from 1979 to 1981.
In his book "Negotiating With Iran; wrestling with ghosts of history," he does a masterful job of educating anyone who is interested in the truth, about the events which have poisoned the relations between these two nations and created myths on both sides, which stand in the way of peace.
Some of his insights on incidents which were murky to me at best, such as the Iran Contra Affair and the roles of such individuals as Michael Ledeen, Manouchehr Ghorbaniffar and Albert Hakim were illuminating of the ineptitude of various administrations, that they would rely upon such questionable intermediaries and trade arms for hostages with no real evidence that Iran could influence events in Lebanon. Limbert fearlessly and impartially exposes mistakes made on both sides and he talks openly about the US backing Iraq in the Iran Iraq War.
For anyone who cannot understand where the Iranian animosity comes from, Limbert explains it all from things as obvious as the 1953 CIA sponsored coup to oust Mossadeg and reinstate the Shah, to subtler things like "S.O.F.A."(Status of Forces Agreement) which gave US military and their dependants residing in Iran during the '60 and `70's immunity from Iranian laws.
Ambassador Limbert has come up with a set of 14 steps to negotiate with Iran which have greater odds of success than the past three decades of mutual animosity, much of which has been generated and kept alive by self serving politicians on both sides. He is realistic about what might be accomplished or considered success.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUST read for understanding Iran April 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author writes an information-packed book that will open your mind to why we are trying for peace with Iran.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book gives a great deal of insight into the history of Iran as it informs their relationship with other powers, especially Imperial Russia, Great Britain, and the United States.

Limbert writes in a fluid and easily digestible manner. A must-read for anyone wishing to tackle the many challenges facing the US-Iran relationship.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Iran is something that must be approached gingerly. "Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts
of History" discusses how to approach the Iranian government when the United States and Iran have had a shaky relationship for decades, through much of the countries' shared existence. John Limbert puts his scholarly mind with advice to diplomats and other international negotiators on how to come out of this conflict a more peaceful world, and averting a potential nuclear crisis. "Negotiating with Iran" is a wise and highly recommended read for those who seek a better understanding of the current crisis.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book of Modern culture Iran. September 4, 2011
The interceptions of USA and the Organizations formed for best cultural practices that negotiated for Iran People to live happily. It is best of conceived and organized.Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History (Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books)
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