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The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran Paperback – February 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786721065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786721061
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,652,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Yossi Melman is an investigative journalist with Ha’aretz. His previous book, Every Spy a Prince, co-authored with Dan Raviv, was a New York Times bestseller. He is the author of six other books on terrorism and covert diplomacy. He lives in Tel Aviv. Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian-born Middle East Analyst who specializes in Iranian affairs. He is Director of the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company (MEEPAS).

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Bohn on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm an open minded person and will not come to a conclusion without looking from all sides of a situation. This book gives a pretty good insight into how Iran evolved to what it is today. You have plenty of references to draw from and shouldn't conclude that it's onesided since the writers are Jewish and Arab. It really makes you think and fills in the gap with information on why Iran's president is the way he is. The media makes it hard to get an understanding on this guy, but this book has given a lot of insight on how he could be. I give it 5 stars because of the well documented references so you can trace why the authors came to their conclusions.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kirk H Sowell on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an informative book which is worth reading, although the cover and title are a bit misleading and the book needs editing before the next publishing, as I assume the publisher has noticed. The front cover gives the impression that it is somehow a biography of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with an emphasis on his role in Iran's nuclear and foreign policies. Actually, it is more like two short books on different but related topics attached to one another. The first third of the book is a pre-election biography of Ahmadinejad, and the remainder is a description of Iran's nuclear program with some analysis of how to deal with it. Ahmadinejad is barely mentioned after page 72. It was like they wanted to write two books, but wanted to rush this while it was timely, so decided to cut material and combine them into one. (Most of the book will be of purely academic interest if we bomb Iran.)

One of the authors is a Israeli expert on Israeli intelligence who writes for Haaretz. The other is an Iran expert of Iranian origin (not Arab, as one of the other reviewers suggests).

The first four chapters dealing with Ahmadinejad's life are certainly good reading, as they include facts not widely known which bear on his performance as president of Iran. Ahmadinejad comes from a rural background, and through the sacrifices of his parents, he was able to attend school and become an engineer. He eventually obtained a PhD in traffic planning (don't laugh, traffic is a huge issue in Iran, especially in Tehran). His religious development included an association with the Hojjatieh society, a messianic movement within Shia Islam which is obsessed with the Mahdi and the apocalypse.

Most importantly, Ahmadinejad came under the influence of Ayatallah Muhammad Yazdi and his followers.
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Format: Paperback
Great, great book!
You will know who is behind the false mask of actual president of Iran, only to find out the true extremist he is too eager to anticipate the coming of his Messiah through war and total destruction if "needed be".
The sooner he leaves his office, hopefully this will happen one day, the better the world would be.
Jayme Kopelman, Brazil
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book. I find it an interesting book albeit a bit out of date because the situation on the ground has changed significantly from 2007 when this book was originally published. Overall, I think that the authors have tried to keep a balanced view of the events in Iran. The two authors appear to have extensively researched the topic, which is very much appreciated. However, despite this, there are a few factual mistakes in the book. These are not major factual errors but nonetheless I was not expecting them in the text.

Examples of areas where the authors could have done a better job:

1. The discussion in the book about the appointment of Ayatollah Khamenei as the successor to Ayatollh Khomeini is not correct. Khomeini never handpicked Khamenei as his successor. Khamenei's ascendance to the throne was a result of a conspiracy conducted by Rafsanjani. In doing this he was helped by Seyed Ahmad Khomeni (Khomeini's Son) as well. This fact has played a major role in the relationship between Khamenei and Rafsanjani.

2. On page 154, the authors implicitly express dissatisfaction that A. Q. Khan was not assassinated by the Israel's secret service Mossad. I found this untasteful, especially because it is coming from a journalist.

3. A few other mistakes can be found on page 171. e.g., the strait of Hurmuz is between Iran and Oman not between Iran and Saudi Arabia. There has been no U.N. ruling on the three disputed islands between Iran and UAE. As a matter of fact, one of these islands (Abu Musa) is really a disputed territory between Iran and the Emirate of Sharjah (now part of UAE).

Overall the book is a good one and I recommend it. I give it three stars out of five.
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