A thorough yet concise survey of Iran’s buildup of nuclear technology since the 1980s, its troubling exporting of Shiite insurgency in countries around it, and the changing American reaction.
Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent Solomon offers an evenhanded look at the backdoor schemes involving the building of Iran’s nuclear weapons and the world players involved in and against its machinations. The culmination of a nuclear treaty between Iran and the U.S. by Secretary of State John Kerry and team in July 2015 (and the lifting of sanctions against Iran) proves anticlimactic as a drastic change of course since the George W. Bush administration—as Solomon notes, he is unsure of Iran’s willingness to stick to the agreements. Mistrust on both sides has plagued the relationship since the 1979 Iranian Revolution: Iran is still smarting from American influence in the region and resentful that the Persian empire has been “wronged and persecuted throughout its history, particularly by its Arab neighbors in collusion with the West.” Ayatollah Khomeini’s military command, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and lethal intelligence unit, the Quds Force, were created to export the revolution and aid its allies in the region, what became known as the “axis of resistance”: Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime. With care and precision, Solomon tracks Iran’s buildup of nuclear capability and the complicated cast of characters involved. Under presidents Bush and Obama, the U.S., as a staunch ally of Israel and eventual supporter of the rebels attempting to topple the Assad regime, has considered Iran its largest national security crisis and worked assiduously behind the scenes to garner world support for hefty economic sanctions. Further complicating matters are Iran’s ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Yet by all accounts, this long-standing “blood feud” cannot hold, and a new relationship must be forged.
In addition to in-depth research, Solomon enlists his own countless interviews and extensive on-site reporting to provide a sound, timely, authoritative exposé.