Persian Dreams: Moscow and Tehran Since the Fall of the Shah

Overview

Moscow’s ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran underwent dramatic fluctuations following Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s triumphant return to Tehran in 1979. After a prolonged implosion, they fitfully expanded, shaped not only by the rush of current events but by centuries of ingrained practices and prejudices. By summer 2006, as Iran forged ahead with its nuclear program and Shia-based forces flexed their muscles across the Middle East, Russian-Iranian relations again appeared ...
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Persian Dreams: Moscow and Tehran Since the Fall of the Shah

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Overview

Moscow’s ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran underwent dramatic fluctuations following Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s triumphant return to Tehran in 1979. After a prolonged implosion, they fitfully expanded, shaped not only by the rush of current events but by centuries of ingrained practices and prejudices. By summer 2006, as Iran forged ahead with its nuclear program and Shia-based forces flexed their muscles across the Middle East, Russian-Iranian relations again appeared to be on the threshold of an entirely new dynamic.

Drawing on firsthand interviews as well as primary and secondary sources, John Parker delineates Moscow’s motives and approaches to dealing with the resurgent Tehran, weaving into the public record the recollections and analyses of Russian politicians, diplomats, and experts who dealt directly with Iran both under the Pahlavi monarchy and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Parker also emphasizes other touchstones of relations between the two countries, including their complex dealings in 1992 immediately after the Soviet Union’s collapse and when they backed opposing sides in the civil war in Tajikistan yet nourished mutual interests on other issues. The depth of his analysis sheds light on the more recent repercussions of the September 11 terrorist attacks for Afghanistan and Iraq, for the Middle East as a whole, and for Iran’s accelerating nuclear program.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent new book, Persian Dreams, offers an exhaustive detailing of the Iran-Russia relationship...it will certainly be the definitive history of the subject until the Iranian side becomes more accessible."

“At last, an answer to both camps in Washington: those who claim that the Russians are against us on Iran, and those who claim they are for us. Parker’s sophisticated analysis shows that Russian policy toward Iran has its own internal dynamic, with a rich and complex history. U.S. policymakers must make of it what they can.”

"Even——perhaps especially——with relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point since the Cold War, American policymakers, journalists, businessmen, specialists on nuclear proliferation, and many others want to know what Russia is up to in Iran. This question usually gets posed in an oversimplified form. In John Parker's careful hands, it gets the best-informed, most sophisticated, most thoughtful answer we are likely to have."

“This is an outstanding piece of scholarship, anchored in close analysis of the documentary sources and revealing interviews with former Russian officials. Anyone with a serious interest in contemporary Russian or Iranian foreign relations should read it.”

"With meticulous scholarship, John Parker has written a fascinating account of a relationship important not only for the two countries involved (Russia and Iran) but for all those relying on oil and concerned about the Islamic Republic's foreign adventurism. The detailed research into Russian sources will make Persian Dreams particularly important to those interested in the Middle East who wish to understand how Moscow views Iran."

"The best study we have of a complex, subtle, multifaceted and important relationship. Parker's work is authoritative, judicious and timely."

"Every person seriously concerned over Iran’s nuclear aspirations and role in Middle East politics should read and ponder John Parker’s masterly, thoroughly documented Persian Dreams. Its lucid account of Russian-Iranian interaction since the fall of the Shah provides essential information for those who would make or assess American policy toward both Russia and Iran."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597972369
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 438
  • Sales rank: 1,202,721
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Parker is the chief of the Division for Caucasus and Central Asia in the Office for Russian and Eurasian Analysis at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research within the U.S. Department of State. During the final years of the Soviet Union, he served in the American Embassy in Moscow as the chief of the political/internal section (1989–91). In the 1980s he was an analyst of Soviet foreign policy in the Office for Soviet and East European Analysis at the U.S. Department of State. He has also been a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the Brookings Institution. Parker is the author of Kremlin in Transition, two volumes. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.
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Table of Contents


1 From the Shahs to the Ayatollah 1
2 Gorbachev and Khomeini: Perestroika Pen Pals 23
3 Soviet Collapse: Revanche or Accommodation? 39
4 Tajikistan: "Greater Iran" or "Near Abroad"? 57
5 The Bait of "Strategic Partnership" 83
6 Kilo Subs, Bushehr, and Shahab 103
7 The Putin Factor 129
8 Caspian Tempests 147
9 Taliban Threats, Tajik Accords, and U.S.-Iran Talks 169
10 9/11 and Afghanistan 183
11 No "Strategic Partnership" 207
12 Operation Iraqi Freedom 223
13 The Ahmadinejad Shock Wave 247
14 Beyond Turkmanchai? 273 Postscript: The Road to Tehran 301 Notes 311 Selected Bibliography 393 Index 405
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