Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History

Overview

As the United States weighs a change of approach toward the Iranian government after thirty years of confrontation, 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 he challenges both Americans and Iranians to end decades of mutually hostile mythmaking. While he acknowledges that any progress at best will be measured in baby steps, Limbert provides clear reasons for...
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Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History

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Overview

As the United States weighs a change of approach toward the Iranian government after thirty years of confrontation, 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 he challenges both Americans and Iranians to end decades of mutually hostile mythmaking. While he acknowledges that any progress at best will be measured in baby steps, Limbert provides clear reasons for renewing dialogue and outlines 14 principles to guide the American who finds himself in a negotiation—commercial, political, or other—with an Iranian counterpart.

John Limbert writes from a personal and professional perspective, combining a deep appreciation and knowledge of Iranian culture and history, first-hand diplomatic experience, and an understanding of what it means to negotiate for the lives of Americans. Anyone interested in understanding U.S.-Iranian history and relations will find this volume invaluable.

This volume is the latest in the Institute's Cross-Cultural Negotiation Series. In 2010, USIP Press will publish American Negotiating Behavior, a new volume by Richard H. Solomon and Nigel Quinney. Future country studies are in the works, including one on Pakistan.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601270436
  • Publisher: United States Institute of Peace Press (USIP Press)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Series: Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 989,496
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • 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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