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The first objective assessment of the high-stakes diplomatic sparring between Washington and Tehran during President Obama’s first years in office
Have the diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration toward Iran failed? Was the Bush administration's emphasis on military intervention, refusal to negotiate, and pursuit of regime change a better approach? How can the United States best address the ongoing turmoil in Tehran? This book provides a definitive and comprehensive analysis of the Obama administration's early diplomatic outreach to Iran and discusses the best way to move toward more positive relations between the two discordant states.
Trita Parsi, a Middle East foreign policy expert with extensive Capitol Hill and United Nations experience, interviewed 70 high-ranking officials from the U.S., Iran, Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Brazil—including the top American and Iranian negotiators—for this book. Parsi uncovers the previously unknown story of American and Iranian negotiations during Obama's early years as president, the calculations behind the two nations' dealings, and the real reasons for their current stalemate. Contrary to prevailing opinion, Parsi contends that diplomacy has not been fully tried. For various reasons, Obama's diplomacy ended up being a single roll of the dice. It had to work either immediately—or not at all. Persistence and perseverance are keys to any negotiation. Neither Iran nor the U.S. had them in 2009.
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In this illuminating book, Trita Parsi uncovers the full details of the diplomatic encounters between Washington and Tehran during Obama's early presidency, then discusses whether diplomacy should be the foreign policy approach of choice for the U.S.
A conversation with Trita Parsi
Q: Why this book?
A: In Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, I showed how the absence of serious diplomacy had brought the U.S., Israel, and Iran to the brink of war. With Obama, an attempt at diplomacy was made—but it failed. The new book looks at what actually happened in that diplomacy and why it fell short. The answer will surprise a lot of people.
Q: What is the most pressing issue the U.S. faces with Iran?
A: The headlines tend to be about the nuclear issue, but that is the symptom rather than the root of the problem. The real problem is the dysfunctional relationship between the U.S. and Iran—and the fact that it is playing out in a volatile region that won't achieve stability until Washington and Tehran find a way to get along.
Q: How did you conduct the research for your book?
A: The topic is very current, so I relied primarily on classified government documents and interviews with top officials from every state involved in Obama's outreach to Iran—from Israel to Saudi Arabia, the E.U., Russia, Turkey, Brazil, and, of course, the U.S. and Iran.
Q: How can Obama succeed with Iran?
A: It all comes down to political will and maneuverability—both in Tehran and in Washington. It is only when we fully realize the cost of failure that we will muster the will and patience to overcome the obstacles on the road to peace.
Praise for Trita Parsi’s Treacherous Alliance:
"[A] wonderfully informative account of the triangular relationship among the US, Iran, and Israel."—Peter Galbraith, New York Review of Books
“A penetrating, provocative, and very timely study that deciphers how U.S. policy in the Middle East has been manipulated both by Iran and by Israel even as relations between these two oscillated between secret collusion and overt collision.”— The Honorable Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter
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