Iran and The United States: An Insider's View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace

Iran and The United States: An Insider's View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace

by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Shahir Shahidsaless

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Scores of books have been written by Western experts, mainly American, looking at the root causes of the conflict between Iran and the US. However, none of them have presented an inside look at this complex relationship from within the Iranian culture, society, and most importantly, the Iranian policy-making system. This gap has been the cause of misperceptions,

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Scores of books have been written by Western experts, mainly American, looking at the root causes of the conflict between Iran and the US. However, none of them have presented an inside look at this complex relationship from within the Iranian culture, society, and most importantly, the Iranian policy-making system. This gap has been the cause of misperceptions, misanalyses, and conflict, followed by the adoption of US policies that have failed to achieve their objectives.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian worked for over 30 years on diplomatic efforts between Iran and the West, serving in numerous official posts, and as a confidante, colleague, and peer to many former and current high ranking Iranian officials, including now-President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Here the former diplomat gives an insider's history of the troubled relationship between Iran and the US. His unique firsthand perspective blends memoir, analysis, and never before seen details of the many near misses in the quest for rapprochement. With so much at stake, the book concludes with a roadmap for peace that both nations so desperately need.

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Editorial Reviews

author of The Dispensable Nation: American For Vali Nasr

The future of U.S.-Iran relations will be one of the most important determinants of global stability in the coming years. This is a clear, incisive and thought provoking look at how Iran sees its relationship with the U.S., and a perspective shaped in the crucible of revolution can see its way to normalization of relations. Rich in detail, this is a must read insider account for all those interested in U.S.-Iran relations and future of U.S. foreign policy.
Ambassador William Green Miller

Seyed Hossein Mousavian's direct experience throughout the 35 years of bitter hostility between the United States and Iran provides an articulate, authoritative understanding of the causes of the distrust, misperceptions, and missed opportunities that have poisoned relations between Iran and the United States -- nations that were once close allies. Mousavian, as a student, scholar, and as a diplomat knows both countries well. Most importantly, at this time when an agreement to end the confrontation is possible, Mousavian details a workable roadmap showing how successful negotiations on nuclear issues can lead to the full restoration of civilized relations.
Gary Sick

Hossein Mousavian, a former negotiator for Iran, continues to provide a unique insight into Iran's policy perspectives and negotiating objectives. In Iran and the United States he adds a useful dimension to the literature on U.S.-Iran relations by recounting the history of these two powers as seen from Tehran. This account is fresh, readable and filled with original information and interpretations.
Frank von Hippel

This wise and fascinating perspective on the history of Iran's relations with the United States, written by a sophisticated Iranian insider, will provide concerned Americans and Iranians with an understanding of the causes of past failures to establish a more constructive relationship and of the current window of opportunity.
Frank G. Wisner

In his Iran and the United States, Seyed Hossein Mousavian has provided us with a well-reasoned, superbly written, Iranian perspective on his country's history, politics, its ties to the US and the present, vitally important nuclear negotiations. Mousavian, a former senior official and diplomat in the Islamic Republic, brings to bear the insights of an insider. Valuable, well informed, timely are descriptions which come to the mind of anyone, like myself, who read this book and have followed closely America's complex relationship with Iran, and believe in the importance of finding common ground.
John Limbert

Agree or disagree with his opinions, Hossein Mousavian's book is worth a careful read. His point of view is too rarely heard by Western audiences, and provides a thought-provoking counterweight to the conventional American wisdom about this most difficult relationship.
Ambassador Jim Walsh

Part memoir and part analysis, Seyed Hossein Mousavian's Iran and the United States is must reading for anyone interested in understanding the difficult relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States. Mousavian, who served in senior posts in the Iranian government, knows the players and directly participated in many of the events he describes, including nuclear negotiations, an attempted assassination by the MEK, and his own arrest by the Iranian government. Mousavian also knows the US, his home for the last several years. Few observers can bring such an acute understanding of both countries' very different perspectives on the world.
John Tirman

Seyed Hossein Mousavian provides in a remarkably lucid account the rare opportunity to learn from an Iranian insider who also understands the West. As a former ambassador to Germany, a nuclear negotiator with the current president of Iran, and a scholar at Princeton University, Mousavian has unique credentials to explain the many missed opportunities in the U.S.-Iran relationship. This book is unusually insightful and pragmatic both, recognizing the costs of enmity and the limits of détente. This deeply knowledgeable analysis is as good as it gets.
M. F. Cairo

Mousavian offers a history of American-Iranian relations that will be familiar to many scholars; however, Mousavian's unique perspective provides new insights into the relationship. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Iranian political system and political culture provide a previously unavailable account of the history of this relationship. The book demonstrates the primary importance of understanding the "other," and the significance of understanding the politics and culture of rivals [...] a must read for any serious student interested in understanding Iran and the Iranian perspective.
Middle East Quarterly Michael Rubin

Mousavian holds out hope that Washington and Tehran can reconcile. Indeed, by jettisoning discussion of the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the discrepancy between what Iran's so-called reformers say in English versus what they say in Persian while cherry-picking his way through history, he creates a narrative in which a diplomatic thaw could probably be accomplished tomorrow. Luckily for the rest of us, there is still reality to keep such impulses in check.
Library Journal
★ 06/01/2014
Mousavian (former Iranian diplomat; research scholar, Princeton Univ.; The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir) opens with a brief outline of the major events characterizing the positive U.S.-Iranian relations until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, including the admittedly poor decision by the United States in its backing of the 1953 coup and unwavering support of the Shah. The majority of the remaining pages examines the relationship since 1979, exploring the dichotomous cultural and political clash between the two nations. Mousavian does an incredible job of walking readers through the major issues that continue to hamper elusive attempts at attaining peace between the United States and Iran while maintaining a central theme revolving around a "profound mistrust, misperceptions, and a lack of mutual understanding." The author concludes by offering a very clear outline, beginning and ending with the need for both sets of leadership to clearly define what the desired end result of a peace process should be—what each side stands to gain and has to offer. This well-researched work written with ShahidSaless is essential to any collection of U.S.-Iranian relations. It is also timely, given President Barack Obama's April 2014 signing of a law that bars entrance to the United States by any foreign diplomat seen as a threat to national security, which includes Iran's choice for United Nations envoy Hamid Aboutalebi because of suspicions of his involvement in the hostage crisis. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in international affairs, current events, or in facilitating peaceful relations with Iran.—Brenna Smeall, AtoZdatabases, Omaha, NE

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Bloomsbury Academic
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5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.50(d)

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