The Tehran Initiative

The Tehran Initiative

by Joel C. Rosenberg


$14.39 $15.99 Save 10% Current price is $14.39, Original price is $15.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 17?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg

Retailers Choice Award winner, 2012
The world is on the brink of disaster, and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as the Twelfth Imam—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second Holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414319360
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 04/19/2012
Series: Twelfth Imam Series
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 131,961
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Joel C. Rosenberg is the New York Times best-selling author of The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, and Epicenter, with 1.5 million copies in print. A communications strategist based in Washington, D.C., he has worked with some of the world’s most influential and provocative leaders, including Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky, and former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Once a political columnist for World magazine, he now writes commentaries for National Review as well as a weekly e-mail update known as “Flash Traffic” for business and political leaders. A front-page Sunday New York Times profile called him a “force in the capital.” He has also been profiled by the Washington Times and the Jerusalem Post and has been interviewed on ABC’s Nightline, CNN Headline News, FOX News Channel, The History Channel, MSNBC, The Rush Limbaugh Show, and The Sean Hannity Show.

Read an Excerpt



"I have come to reestablish the Caliphate."

At any other time in history, such an utterance could have come only from the lips of a madman. But Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali said it so matter-of-factly, and with such authority, that Iskander Farooq was tempted not to challenge the notion.

"I have come to bring peace and justice and to rule the earth with a rod of iron," he continued. "This is why Allah sent me. He will reward those who submit. He will punish those who resist. But make no mistake, Iskander; in the end, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that I am the Lord of the Age."

The satellite reception was crystal clear. The voice of the Promised One — the Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi — was calm, his statements airtight, Iskander Farooq thought as he pressed the phone to his ear and paced back and forth along the veranda of his palace overlooking northeastern Islamabad. He knew what the Mahdi wanted, but every molecule in his body warned him not to accede to his demands. They were not presented as demands, of course, but that's precisely what they were — and while the Mahdi made it all sound wise and reasonable, Farooq heard an edge of menace in the man's tone, and this made him all the more wary.

The early morning air was bitterly and unusually cold. The sun had not yet risen over the pine trees and paper mulberries of the Margalla Hills, yet Farooq could already hear the chants of the masses less than a block away. "Give praise to Imam al-Mahdi!" they shouted again and again. "Give praise to Imam al-Mahdi!"

A mere hundred tanks and a thousand soldiers and special police forces now protected the palace. Only they kept the crowds — estimated at over a quarter of a million Pakistanis — from storming the gates and seizing control. But how loyal were they? If the number of protesters doubled or tripled or worse by dawn, or by lunchtime, how much longer could he hold out? He had to make a decision quickly, Farooq knew, and yet the stakes could not be higher.

"What say you?" the Mahdi asked. "You owe me an answer."

Iskander Farooq had no idea how to respond. As president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the fifty-six-year-old former chemical engineer was horrified that Tehran had suddenly become the seat of a new Caliphate. Though the Mahdi had not formally declared the Iranian capital as the epicenter of the new Islamic kingdom, every Muslim around the world certainly suspected this announcement was coming soon. Farooq certainly did, and it infuriated him. Neither he, nor his father, nor his father's father had ever trusted the Iranians. The Persian Empire had ruled his ancestors, stretching in its day from India in the east to Sudan and Ethiopia in the west. Now the Persians wanted to subjugate them all over again.

True, Iran's shah had been the first world leader to formally recognize the independent state of Pakistan upon its declaration of independence in 1947. But it had been a brief window of friendliness. After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had come to power in 1979, tensions between the two states had spiked. Khomeini had led an Islamic Revolution that was thoroughly Shia in all its complexions, and this had not sat well with the Pakistanis. Neither Farooq nor his closest advisors — nor anyone he had known growing up — had ever believed that the Twelfth Imam was coming to earth one day or that such a figure would actually be the Islamic messiah or that he would usher in the end of days, much less that Sunnis would end up joining a Caliphate led by him. Farooq's teachers had all mocked and ridiculed such notions as the heresy of the Shias, and Farooq had rarely given the matter any thought.

Now what was he to believe? The Twelfth Imam was no longer some fable or myth, like Santa Claus for the pagans and Christians or the tooth fairy for children everywhere. Now the Mahdi — or someone claiming to be the Mahdi — was here on the planet. Now this so-called Promised One was taking the Islamic world by storm, electrifying the masses and instigating insurrections wherever his voice was heard.

More to the point, this "Mahdi" was now on the other end of this satellite phone call, requesting — or more accurately, insisting upon — Farooq's fealty and that of his nation.

* * *


David Shirazi faced the most difficult decision of his life.

On the one hand, despite being only twenty-five years old, he was one of only a handful of NOCs — nonofficial cover agents — in the Central Intelligence Agency who had an Iranian heritage. He was fluent in Farsi and had proven he could operate effectively and discreetly inside the Islamic Republic. He had no doubt, therefore, that he was about to be ordered to go back inside Iran within the next forty-eight to seventy-two hours, given how rapidly things were developing.

On the other hand, David simply wasn't convinced that the American administration was serious about stopping Iran from building an arsenal of nuclear weapons or stopping the Twelfth Imam from using them. In his view, President William Jackson was a foreign policy novice.

Yes, Jackson had lived in the Muslim world. Yes, he'd studied and traveled extensively in the Muslim world. Yes, Jackson believed he was an expert on Islam, but David could see the man was in way over his head. Despite years of hard evidence to the contrary, Jackson still believed he could negotiate with Tehran, just as the US had done with the nuclear-armed Soviet Empire for decades. He still believed economic sanctions could prove effective. He still believed the US could contain or deter a nuclear Iran. But the president was dead wrong.

The truth was chilling. David knew that Iran was being run by an apocalyptic, genocidal death cult. They believed the end of the world was at hand. They believed their Islamic messiah had come. They believed that Israel was the Little Satan, that the US was the Great Satan, and that both needed to be annihilated in order for the Twelfth Imam to build his Caliphate. David had done the research. He'd met with and extensively interviewed the most respected Iranian scholar on Shia Islamic eschatology. He'd read the most important books on the topic written by Shia mullahs. He had found Iran's top nuclear scientist and smuggled him and his family out of the country. He had documented everything he had seen and heard and learned in detailed memos to his superiors at Langley. He had argued that they were severely underestimating the influence Shia End Times theology was having on the regime.

He knew at least some of his work had made it to the Oval Office. Why else was he being asked to come to Washington for a meeting with President Jackson at noon tomorrow? But he wasn't convinced he was getting through. Why should he risk his life and go back inside Iran if his superiors didn't understand the gravity of the situation and weren't willing to take decisive measures to neutralize the Iranian threat before it was too late?

* * *


"I appreciate your very gracious invitation," Farooq replied.

Trying not to appear to be stalling for time, though that was precisely what he was doing, he added, "I look forward to discussing the matter with my Cabinet later today and then with the full parliament later this week."

Events were moving far too quickly for his liking. Someone had to drag his feet and slow things down. To Farooq's shock, he had watched as his dear friend Abdullah Mohammad Jeddawi, king of Saudi Arabia, had actually fallen prostrate before the Twelfth Imam on worldwide television, then publicly announced that the Saudi kingdom was joining the new Caliphate. Worse, Jeddawi had even offered the cities of Mecca or Medina to be the seat of power for the new Islamic kingdom should the Mahdi deem either of them acceptable. How was that possible? Despite his divinely appointed role as commander of the faithful and custodian of the holy sites, Jeddawi — a devout Sunni Muslim — had offered no resistance to the Shia Mahdi, no hesitation, no push back whatsoever. Farooq could not imagine a more disgraceful moment, but the damage was done, and in the hours since, the dominoes had continued falling one by one.

The prime minister of Yemen, a good and decent man whom Farooq had known since childhood, had called the Mahdi late last night to say his country would join the Caliphate, according to a report on Al Jazeera. Now the Gulf-based satellite news service was reporting that Qatar was also joining, a dramatic change from just twenty-four hours earlier. So were Somalia and Sudan. Algeria was in. The new government of Tunisia said they were "actively considering" the Mahdi's invitation to join the Caliphate. So was the king of Morocco. The Shia-dominated, Hezbollah-controlled government of Lebanon had made no formal announcement but was meeting in emergency session at that very moment. Turkey's parliament and prime minister were reportedly gathering the next day to discuss the Mahdi's invitation.

To their credit, the Egyptians under President Abdel Ramzy were resisting. So were the Iraqis and the Sunni king of Bahrain. These were good signs, but Farooq wasn't convinced they would be good enough. Syrian president Gamal Mustafa in Damascus was silent thus far, but Farooq had little doubt he, too, would soon cave.

"Is there a reason for this hesitation I perceive in you?" the Mahdi asked.

Farooq paused and considered his words carefully. "Perhaps only that this has all come so suddenly, and I do not know you, have not heard your heart, have not discussed your vision for our region or what role you envision Pakistan playing."

"History is a river, my son, and the current is moving rapidly."

"All the more reason that we should take caution," Farooq replied, "lest we be swept away by events beyond our control."

"Do you have a request of me?" the Mahdi asked. "If so, make it now."

Farooq struggled to find the right words. He had no desire to meet this pretender to the throne. He had more important things to do than to waste his precious time with a man so clearly consumed with blind arrogance and ambition. But Farooq knew full well that he was now walking through a minefield and that he had to be judicious with every step.

He looked out across the city and marveled at the majestic parliament building to his right and the ornate Islamic architecture of the supreme court facility to his left. Both served as tangible reminders of the great civilization over which he now presided. He dared not gamble with his nation's sovereignty, much less his people's dignity and honor. He felt a tremendous burden upon his shoulders. He governed more than 185 million Muslims. Precious few of them were Shias, like the Mahdi who had awoken him from his slumber at this ungodly hour. The vast majority of them were Sunnis, like him. Most were devout. Some were passionate. Some were fanatics. A week ago, Farooq would never have imagined that any of them would embrace the teachings about the Mahdi, much less take to the streets to call for Pakistan to join the Caliphate with the Twelfth Imam as its leader. But now the people were on the move.

From Karachi to Cairo to Casablanca, millions of Muslims — Shias and Sunnis alike — were on the streets demanding change, demanding the immediate downfall of "apostate regimes" like his own, demanding that the ummah, the community of Muslims around the world, join forces to create a new, unified, borderless kingdom, a new Caliphate stretching from Pakistan to Morocco.

And that was just the beginning. The masses wanted what the Twelfth Imam was preaching: a global Caliphate in which every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet converted to Islam or perished in a day of judgment.

It was lunacy, Farooq thought. Sheer lunacy. Yet he dared not say so. Not yet. Not now. To do so, he knew, would be political suicide. Abdel Ramzy could publicly defy the Mahdi from his secure perch on the banks of the Nile, backed by all that American money and weaponry. But one word in public from the Mahdi that he was unhappy with the "infidel of Islamabad," and Farooq knew he would have a full-blown and bloody revolution on his hands. The protesting masses — notably peaceful in their first twenty-four hours — could very well turn violent. He had seen it before. He had been part of such mobs before, back in his youth. If that happened, he genuinely doubted the military would stand with him, and then what?

"I appreciate your call very much, Your Excellency," Farooq told the Mahdi. "There are a few more questions I have, ones that I would prefer not to discuss over the phone. Perhaps we could meet in person? Would that be acceptable to you?"

"It must be soon. Coordinate details with Javad."

"Very well, Your Excellency," Farooq said before being put on hold.

As he waited for Javad Nouri, the Mahdi's personal aide, to come on the line, Farooq tried not to think about the consequences if he were deposed and his nation descended into anarchy. If he didn't bide his time and plan his steps very carefully, this self-appointed Twelfth Imam would soon gain control of his beloved Pakistan, and with it, control of 172 nuclear warheads — the nation's entire arsenal — and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.


Excerpted from "The Tehran Initiative"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Joel C. Rosenberg.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Tehran Initiative 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Tehran, CIA agent David Shirazi enables the Islamic Republic of Iran's highest ranking nuclear scientist Dr. Najjar Malik and his family to escape to the United States (see The Twelfth Imam). However Shirazi remains in country undercover as he continues his inquiry into the actions of Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali who claims to be The Promised One Mahdi. He has told millions of euphoric Muslims that he will with Allah's blessing re-establish the Caliphate and rule the world with an iron fist in peace. Shirazi's fears that Iran is going nuclear are affirmed when the country tests an atomic weapon. In Jerusalem, the Americans try to calm the anxiety of the Israeli leaders who fear a nuclear attack followed by a holocaust that will exceed WWII. The debate inside the Knesset is adopting the Bush Doctrine of First Strike by taking out the Iranian nuke facilities. Waiting for the anticipated attack will lead to Israeli annihilation; first strike will lead to a Holy War. Shirazi and his unit must disable the nuclear warheads that Iran possesses before either enemy takes the first strike attack. The sequel to the frightening The Twelfth Imam continues the alarming premise that The Promised One will unite the Muslim world in a fundamentalist Caliphate that will not remain passive but take the war to the enemy infidels. The exciting action-packed story line grips the audience from the onset and never slows down as Shirazi and his team try to prevent Iran going nuclear. Although the hero's ability to avoid direct fire starting with the Malik scenario is miraculously implausible, fans will appreciate the world on the brink warning story line with a strong subplot involving Shirazi's spiritual awakening. Harriet Klausner
LetsBookIt More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by admitting I know little to nothing about the sects of Islam or their beliefs. I am not overly aware of Mid-East politics or policy. And, although I am Christian and have a good understanding of the Bible, I am not in any way a scriptorian. In other words, I am likely the epitome of the readership for this novel. It is Christian Fiction and there are lots of references to Biblical prophesy throughout the book. Technically, this is a very well written book. The writing style is strong and flowing. Joel Rosenberg hooks the reader from page one and the story flows effortlessly from there. I have not read the first of this series and I did not at any time feel like I was missing out. 'The Tehran Initiative' reads well as a stand alone book. Although I am sure the character development began in the first novel of the series, there was no hesitation, on my part, in getting involved with the characters in this book. The author has included a list before the story that explains who each character is and where they fit in the intrigue. I have said it before and I'll say it again - I love it when authors do this! I had no trouble keeping up with the characters while reading but it was nice to know there was a fall back if I needed it. The main character of the novel is David Shirazi, a CIA operative working undercover in Iran. As a sub-plot, David struggles to balance his loyalty to his country and job; his devotion to his family and his desire to have a 'normal' life and family of his own. His struggle is palpable. It was heart wrenching when he had to leave his parents for the assignment which is central to the story. Although essential to the plot, the one problem I had with Mr Rosenberg's novel was the portrayal of Islam and the Islamic people as either naive followers or outright evil; the nemesis of the Christians. I am sure there are followers of both religions that feel this way but I am not one of them. It is a peeve I have with a lot of Christian fiction that the purpose of the books seems to be more to convert than to educate, enlighten and edify. I certainly felt this was true of 'The Tehran Initiative'. It would have appealed to me more if the story had been kept, while at the same time weeding out some of the 'Bible thumping'. Often the scriptures referred to in the book were interpreted in ways I was a little uncomfortable with. (again I would point out that I am NOT a scriptorian) Overall, 'The Tehran Initiative', is a strong, compelling political thriller. My husband has been chomping at the bit waiting for me to finish so that he can start. It will be interesting to get his take on it.
shaste More than 1 year ago
Joel brilliantly mixes current events with the Word of God in this fictional story that probably could come true based on where the world is heading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast-paced, interest keeping, and like reading today's headlines! Love the supernatural twist!
Daenel More than 1 year ago
Do you like realistic Christian fiction? Then you will absolutely love this book. The action is fast paced, the drama is intense and the plot is believable (something I usually find lacking in Christian fiction). Set in the present, the book covers 6 days in the life of undercover agent David Shirazi as he tries to prevent the Middle East from becoming a powder keg. Normally, I don't read suspense/espionage books but I was immediately caught up in the story. Rosenberg creates a realistic scene where the long awaited Twelfth Imam has taken control of the Middle East and started preparing them for all out war against Israel and the United States. It's like reading a story that's been ripped from the headlines and put in novel form. Furthermore, the dialog between the characters is believable and flows naturally (sometimes trying to incorporate faith into a suspense novel can make the dialog a little stilted). Seriously, there's a little bit of everything in this book for everyone: romance, explosions, chase scenes and espionage, all from a Christian perspective without being overly preachy. Regardless of your religious or political beliefs, I think this novel is a must read.
CuzzinBrucie More than 1 year ago
This is a true thriller with excellent main plot and supporting and sensible sub plots. Read nearly 400 pages in five days after reading all of the author's previous novels in the order they were released - they, too, were excellent, exciting and although fiction, they read like non-fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author picks up where the first book in the series (The Twelfth Imam) left off, plunging the reader back into the escalating events between Iran and Israel. The 400 pages cover an intense 7-day period between Tehran, Jerusalem and Washington. If the reader steps out of the novel into actual current events, such a week has the potential to be the most intense week in history. World leaders face decisions that could obliterate entire nations in a matter of seconds if the wrong decision would be made. Iranian ships are in the Mediterranean well within reach of Tel Aviv. Israel is surrounded by a growing hostile caliphate. There is increased activity at the Iranian nuclear sites and military airfields. This is the Tehran Initiative-the war plan to destroy Israel. In Joel Rosenberg's style, both the book and today's news parallel in an uncanny way. Throughout the book, Israel desperately tries to obtain support from its lifelong ally, the United States. The Prime Minister hopes to the last minute that the two countries would unite to stop Iran from using their already-built nuclear weapons. The Israeli Prime Minister faces a decision he hoped to not make alone. Whether acting alone or with her allies, Israel musters up all her strength to meet the challenge head on. But, in the end, was a global disaster prevented, or did the entire Middle East erupt, causing an economic and military apocalypse? Was there retaliation? My only disappointment with the book is that those questions are left unanswered until the third book is written. Or, maybe we need to step out of the novel and watch the real news headlines for the answers in the coming months.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
chrisGA More than 1 year ago
As I write this, Israel and Hamas are bombing each other, Egypt and Syria are in midst of turmoil, and the extremist, radical Muslim group ISIS is killing and razing large areas of Iraq, so the whole premise of this book is scarily-plausible. In this second of three books in THE TWELFTH IMAM series, the Madhi or the Twelfth Imam is ruthlessly using coercion and personal charisma to create a united Islamic Caliphate under his rule. Backed by Iran’s new nuclear warheads and his willingness to use them to get his way, nothing seems to be able to stop his sweep first of the Middle East and then of the rest of the world. I felt empathy for the President, William Jackson, who still believed that diplomacy and open dialogue would make peace in the region possible in spite of very dramatic evidence to the contrary at a New York City fundraiser. It is so difficult to believe we could be so hated by so many. I could well imagine David’s frustration at the country’s inability to believe how imminent impending nuclear war truly was. To say that the storyline is a nerve-wracking, tension-filled race to stop the end of the world is not overstating it. Once starting this book, be prepared to lose sleep –and, to a degree, your sense of security. The story is believable and filled with likeable brave heroes and nasty villains. I pray this is just a work of fiction. I have read the comments in other reviews here about whether or not the Islamic End of Days is accurately portrayed, but I don’t have the background knowledge to judge that or to state one way or the other whether the Twelfth Imam is or is not supposed to be the Anti-Christ. I found this a compelling political, spy thriller with some appropriately explicit incidents of characters exhibiting Christian prayer, conversion and salvation. The book is published by Tyndale which is a Christian publishing house so the need of Jesus Christ in a character’s life should come as no surprise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rosenberg is great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Arlene70AL More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes intrigue, mystery mixed with politics and foreign affairs. I have read several Joel Rosenberg novels and they are all very good but The Tehran Initiative was also exciting and I could not put it down. This is not a "formula" book. It moves along and keeps you interested but also gives you some perspective of how the CIA works and what is required to survive in Iran. I highly recommend this book. You'll be rivited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WET1 More than 1 year ago
The Tehran Initiative is the middle book of a trilogy. Each stands on it's own but I highly recmmend reading all three books. The first book is The Twelfth Imam, the third book is The Damascus Countdown. All three books involve the fast paced adventures of a CIA agent in the Middle East and revolves around current news events. It's hard to put any of these books down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series will keep you on the edge of your seat. It was hard to put down. Could have been in the newspaper this morning. Highly recommend.
Shoemouse More than 1 year ago
This review is my honest opinion and I was not paid for this service. The Tehran Initiative was a captivating thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is one book that I could not put down as I had to know what was going to happen next. Reading this book like others written by Joel C Rosenberg makes you wonder if it is all possible. Many of the events that transpire in the book are also real live events going on in the world today. Although real life does not end in the way that it does in his books, they are very plausible in what could very well transpire one day. The Tehran Initiative continues where The Twelfth Imam left off. Mr. Rosenberg's writing style allows you to pick up and read and still know what is going on without having read any of the others in the series. I like how Mr. Rosenberg pulls you into the story as though you are really there. His descriptive writing style allows the reader to be able to picture every moment of the story. He has wonderfully developed characters that Mr. Rosenberg allows the reader to fall in love with.Mr. Rosenberg's vast religious knowledge, current event knowledge and cultural knowledge helps to make the story not only enjoyable, but believable.This book will leave you not only thinking, but wanting more. I recommend this book to anyone who wants not only a good read, but enjoys a fast-paced Christian thriller with tons of action.
PAMOM More than 1 year ago
Love joel's books. Very exciting and apropos for the times in which we live.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing! History, prophecy and current events rolled into one. I can never put his books down and this one is no exception!!