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Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The author's account of "Negotiating with Iran" is essential reading for anyone following the difficulties being experienced by the US as it seeks to persuade Iran not to develop nuclear weapons.

    Ambassador Limbert is uniquely qualified to address this complex and increasingly worrisome issue having spent many years in Iran as a student, teacher, US Embassy official and, finally, hostage for 444 days in 1979-81. He has ably reviewed the history of several conflicts within Iran since the end of World War II, from the Azerbaijan crisis when the US and its allies succeeded in securing the withdrawal of Soviet forces from northwestern Iran, the British-US intervention to topple the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadeq, the unsuccessful US effort to prevent the overthrow of the Shah, the difficulties encountered in seeking to establish a viable working relationship with the Ayatollah Khomenie after his return to Tehran and finally the hostage crisis. The author describes very well how the "ghosts" of past actions in Iran, like Marley's ghost, return to frustrate our efforts to establish a more effective dialogue with Tehran for discussing today's vital issues. He suggests that patience and real hard work will be needed to overcome Iranian perceptions that the US has secret plans to seek the overthrow of the government and to control the country's oil industry.

    Although Ambassador Limbert does not devote much attention to the current controversy over Iran's nuclear program, his thesis that ghosts of past actions will complicate efforts to deal with today's issues is prticularly relevant in that in 1975 the US Government sought to persuade Tehran to embark on an ambitious program to construct several nuclear power plants so as to make possible a substantial increase in Iran's oil exports in international markets. The facility at Bushehr that is scheduled to begin operation shortly was initiated with funding provided by the US.

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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