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A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran Hardcover – January 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st ed., 1st Ptg edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300169361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300169362
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"You gotta get this. . . . Really, it is an amazing perspective on all the elements that go into even the smallest of diplomatic deals."—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
(Jon Stewart The Daily Show)

"A must-read for all those interested in the relationship between Washington and Tehran."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
(Publishers Weekly)

“[Parsi] explores an important issue in depth and with clarity, providing a useful view of current concerns about a nuclear Iran.”—New Yorker
(New Yorker)

"Well-timed...Absorbing...A tale of missed opportunities, obduracy and short-sightedness, all of which are pushing the Middle East towards greater instability."—Economist
(Economist)

"The most incisive account available. . . . Eminently readable, sometimes gripping."—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs 
(L. Carl Brown Foreign Affairs)

"Perfectly-timed. . . . A carefully balanced and thoroughly researched account of the tortured US-Iranian relationship in recent years. Parsi is the ideal person to write it."—Julian Borger's Global Security Blog, The Guardian
(Julian Borger The Guardian)

“With the eye of a Washington insider, Trita Parsi assembles all the pieces of this complex puzzle in an original and persuasive way. I am aware of no one who has subjected the Obama administration’s policy on Iran to this kind of sustained scrutiny. Parsi displays a nuanced understanding of the historical context and an exceptionally fine-tuned appreciation for the political conditions and vulnerabilities of both Iran and the United States.”—Gary Sick, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs
(Gary Sick)

“Trita Parsi’s gripping account is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the human details of recent diplomacy. Parsi recounts it all—the misunderstandings, the fears, the prejudices, the ambitions, and the misreading—that have hobbled American efforts to end three decades of futility with Iran.”—John Limbert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under the Obama administration (John Limbert)

“No one in the United States knows more about Iran, or can speak more authoritatively about the complex historical relationship between Iran and the US, than Trita Parsi. A Single Roll of the Dice is a must-read.”—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
(Reza Aslan)

"Parsi has done a great service by writing the first book on how the Obama administration and Iran missed yet another opportunity for reconciliation . . . [He] explains what went wrong on both sides as well the events and third parties that helped insure that diplomacy would be given only a minimal chance to succeed. Parsi is well qualified to analyse the sad course of U.S.-Iran relations . . . His new book will appeal to specialists and the general public."—Barbara Slavin, IPS
(Barbara Slavin IPS)

"With this book, Trita Parsi has given us an authoritative document on one of today's most urgent and nettlesome foreign policy challenges. He not only draws on the published record, but contributes original reporting from the vantage points of all the players, including the Iranian perspective. It will be edifying for a wide range of readers, from foreign policy specialists to anyone with a stake in the outcome—which is all of us."—David Shorr, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
(David Shorr Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

"In this penetrating, thoughtful, and engaging book, Parsi (president, National Iranian American Council) gives the reader a rare glimpse into the complexities of the Obama administration's policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran in the first three years of his administration. . . . his analysis is balanced, piercing, insightful, refreshing, and rich in facts and details. Readers are going to find much food for thought in this volume, which sheds light on one of the most vexing political imbroglios of the last 30 years . . . this timely book is a must read."—M. Dorraj, Choice
(M. Dorraj Choice)

Named One of The Best Books of 2012 on the Middle East by Foreign Affairs 
(Foreign Affairs)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for International Relations within the Social and Behavioral Sciences category.
(Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2013-06-10)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for subcategory Western Europe within the Social and Bahavioral Sciences category.
(Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2013-06-10)

Book Description

In this illuminating book, Trita Parsi uncovers the full details of the diplomatic encounters between Washington and Tehran during Obama's early presidency, then discusses whether diplomacy should be the foreign policy approach of choice for the U.S. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

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If you read one book on foreign policy toward Iran all year, I strongly recommend this one.
Gabe Schultz
Mr. Trita Parsi is a respected Iranian-American scholar whose previous work, "The Unholy Alliance" is a classic work on relations between the US, Iran and Israel.
Z. Ahari
One only hopes the negotiators to come, and those who make the decisions, read the book to get a good idea of what the other side is thinking.
E. Goldstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Z. Ahari on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a well- researched well- documented work. Mr. Trita Parsi is a respected Iranian-American scholar whose previous work, "The Unholy Alliance" is a classic work on relations between the US, Iran and Israel. His intimate knowledge of Persian language, affords him a unique ability to navigate the tortuous course of statements and comments made by the Iranian politicians and diplomats. He has interviewed a large number of influential in-office and out-of-office politicians, diplomats and technocrats of all stripes. He is one of the few Iranians who are engaged in the task of trying to bring about a resolution to the festering relationship between the US and Iran. And like almost all of them he is subject to the attacks of the individuals, groups and states that each has an agenda of its own. The attacks are vicious and concerted. A review of the negative comments and the uniformity of their language is a good indication of the organized form of these attacks. The book is a valuable source of information on this convoluted and dangerous path. It should be a mandatory reading on all sides of the conflict before the verbal conflict turns into an event of diabolical dimensions. It is a handbook written for those who are seeking a peaceful solution to this problem. Let us keep in mind that if we do not heed the wise and achievable recommendations made by the author, the world would be thrown into a predictably disastrous, unfathomable abyss more treacherous than the last century's conflicts combined
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By trustTreview on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ok, everyone that rated this book one star, did not read it. They have a political agenda and are using this forum for book reviews as a mouth piece! Shame! If you want a comprehensive analysis about this issue, just like the Israel and Iran issue in his other book, here you will find it. It opens your eyes to what has happened and how things happened. It is so eye opening, it is inspiring! You will feel like you have been freed and and can see one of the most pressing and most important issues, so much more clearly. The perfect book for the train, before bed, as a weekend read. Toss out the newspaper, here is the real news.
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44 of 59 people found the following review helpful By MJ Rosenberg on January 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is so good that even though I purchased it for my kindle, I will buy the hardcover too so I can thoroughly mark it up for future reference.
Dr.Parsi, an Iranian-American who clearly feels nothing but contempt for the current regime, describes how the United States has mishandled Iran for decades. Opportunities for engagement (i.e., changing Iran's behavior) were missed over and over again largely due to intellectual rigidity on the part of successive administrations and the influence of lobbyists with a vested interest in continuation of the conflict.
Hopes for a breakthrough came with the election of President Obama whose natural instinct is toward diplomacy, not confrontation, but he was boxed in by lobbyists and by a Congress that takes its marching orders from them.
Obama has been president for 3 years, during which time the US has directly communicated with Iranian officials for a grand total of 45 minutes.
And now, following Obama's approval of a sanctions bill that will accomplish nothing other than to harm our allies and the Iranian people while, quite likely, strengthening the regime, we may be on the road to war.
This is insane. Although we should do what we can to prevent development of an Iranian bomb, the best means to achieve that goal is through dialogue not dumb (i.e., the opposite of "smart") sanctions and mindless rhetoric designed to impress domestic U.S. interest groups (i.e, the "pro-Israel" lobby and end-of-days Christian zealots.
It should also be said that Iran is likely to develop nuclear weapons, no matter what we do. That being the case, lessening and not exacerbating tensions would seem to be wise.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christpher Hays on February 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author presents a highly insightful and timely history of the Obama administrations attempt to negotiate with the Iranian regime, which, because negotiations were fairly limited in scope (among other reasons) he characterizes as a "single role of the dice".

Certainly Obama felt pressure from the Israelis not to negotiate at all and to immediately go forward with "crippling sanctions", ostensibly because Israel believed that only sanctions could work and that Iran would just use negotiations as a stall tactic to buy time to develop their nuclear program anyway. On the other hand, Israel is now howling about the ineffectiveness of sanctions in order to justify a pre-emptive strike, something which most likely would only set Iran's nuclear program back a few years, at best, and at worst just further inflame the whole region.

The Israelis were not the only ones pushing for sanctions, however, as there was also pressure from some EU countries, as well as members of Obama's own political party and even from within his own administration to bypass negotiations and move directly onto the "sanctions track". Thus Obama felt "pressured" into giving the Iranians a time line and focusing on only one issue, instead of trying to generate more open-ended discussions on a larger range of topics, something which is more typical of a successful negotiating strategy.

The author cites numerous named and un-named sources within various governments, including Israel, the US and Iran, all of which adds credibility to his narrative and commentary.
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