GOING TO TEHRAN by Flynt Leverett


Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran
Email this review


Leverett (International Affairs/Pennsylvania State Univ.; Inheriting Syria: Bashir's Trial by Fire, 2005) and his wife, Hillary, argue that, unless it changes, “the United States’ Iran policy is locked in a trajectory…that will ultimately lead to war.”

The authors take on what they identify as “a powerful mythology” that continues to influence U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic—primarily, the proposition that because it is unpopular, the regime “is in imminent danger of being overthrown.” They offer an alternative to the prevailing view that Khomeini and his supporters hijacked the liberal revolution that began in 1978 and “betrayed the aspirations of those who actually carried out the campaign that deposed the shah.” The Leveretts take issue with American policymakers who propose that the U.S. should advocate the overthrow of the present regime in favor of liberal democracy. They believe in the possibility of negotiating with the present regime. The authors dispute the view that the mullahs have done nothing for the population and lack support, showing how literacy, health and medical care have been upgraded and the economy developed. They highlight present concerns about the Iranian nuclear program, which they claim are exaggerated. They identify the continuing influence of the neoconservatives, who brought about the second Iraq war, and “liberal internationalists,” who are ready to deploy military force in support of human rights. They believe that the time has come for an initiative like Nixon's visit to Beijing to begin a change in course.

A sharply different deconstruction of the prevailing orthodoxy, worthy of attention.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9419-0
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2012


NonfictionTHE SECOND NUCLEAR AGE by Paul Bracken
by Paul Bracken
IndieTHE KIDNEY SELLERS by Sigrid Fry-Revere
by Sigrid Fry-Revere
NonfictionMYTHS, ILLUSIONS, AND PEACE by Dennis Ross
by Dennis Ross