Iran and The United States

An Insider's View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace

By Seyed Hossein Mousavian; Shahir Shahidsaless
(Bloomsbury Academic, Hardcover, 9781628920079, 368pp.)

Publication Date: June 2014

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Description

Scores of books have been written by Western experts, mainly American, looking at the root causes of the conflict between Iran and the US. However, none of them have presented an inside look at this complex relationship from within the Iranian culture, society, and most importantly, the Iranian policy-making system. This gap has been the cause of misperceptions, misanalyses, and conflict, followed by the adoption of US policies that have failed to achieve their objectives.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian worked for over 30 years on diplomatic efforts between Iran and the West, serving in numerous official posts, and as a confidante, colleague, and peer to many former and current high ranking Iranian officials, including now-President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Here the former diplomat gives an insider’s history of the troubled relationship between Iran and the US. His unique firsthand perspective blends memoir, analysis, and never before seen details of the many near misses in the quest for rapprochement. With so much at stake, the book concludes with a roadmap for peace that both nations so desperately need.




About the Author

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, PhD is Associate Research Scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security (SGS) at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. He is a former diplomat who served as General Director of Europe in Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Ambassador to Germany, Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council, as Spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Iran’s National Security Council. His research focuses on improving Iran-US relations.

Shahir Shahidsaless
is an Iranian-Canadian political analyst and freelance journalist. He has extensively written analytical pieces surrounding Iranian foreign and domestic politics in general, and Iran-U.S. relations in particular. He received his MA in Geopolitics and Grand Strategy from the University of Sussex, UK.




Praise For Iran and The United States

The future of U.S.-Iran relations will be one of the most important determinants of global stability in the coming years. This is a clear, incisive and thought provoking look at how Iran sees its relationship with the U.S., and a perspective shaped in the crucible of revolution can see its way to normalization of relations. Rich in detail, this is a must read insider account for all those interested in U.S.-Iran relations and future of U.S. foreign policy. - Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
 Seyed Hossein Mousavian's direct experience throughout the 35 years of bitter hostility between the United States and Iran provides an articulate, authoritative understanding of the causes of the distrust, misperceptions, and missed opportunities that have poisoned relations between Iran and the United States--nations that were once close allies. Mousavian, as a student, scholar, and as a diplomat knows both countries well. Most importantly, at this time when an agreement to end the confrontation is possible, Mousavian details a workable roadmap showing how successful negotiations on nuclear issues can lead to the full restoration of civilized relations. - Ambassador William Green Miller
 Hossein Mousavian, a former negotiator for Iran, continues to provide a unique insight into Iran's policy perspectives and negotiating objectives. In Iran and the United States he adds a useful dimension to the literature on U.S.-Iran relations by recounting the history of these two powers as seen from Tehran. This account is fresh, readable and filled with original information and interpretations. - Gary Sick, Director,  Gulf/2000 Project (G2K) at Columbia University, USA, and author of All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter With Iran
 This wise and fascinating perspective on the history of Iran's relations with the United States, written by a sophisticated Iranian insider, will provide concerned Americans and Iranians with an understanding of the causes of past failures to establish a more constructive relationship and of the current window of opportunity. - Frank von Hippel, Professor of Public and International Affairs emeritus, Princeton University
 In his Iran and the United States, Seyed Hossein Mousavian has provided us with a well-reasoned, superbly written, Iranian perspective on his country’s history, politics, its ties to the US and the present, vitally important nuclear negotiations.  Mousavian, a former senior official and diplomat in the Islamic Republic, brings to bear the insights of an insider.  Valuable, well informed, timely are descriptions which come to the mind of anyone, like myself, who read this book and have followed closely America’s complex relationship with Iran, and believe in the importance of finding common ground. - Frank G. Wisner, International Affairs Advisor, Patton Boggs, LLP
 Agree or disagree with his opinions, Hossein Mousavian’s book is worth a careful read. His point of view is too rarely heard by Western audiences, and provides a thought-provoking counterweight to the conventional American wisdom about this most difficult relationship. - John Limbert, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, US Naval Academy, and author of Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History
Part memoir and part analysis, Seyed Hossein Mousavian’s Iran and the United States is must reading for anyone interested in understanding the difficult relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States. Mousavian, who served in senior posts in the Iranian government, knows the players and directly participated in many of the events he describes, including nuclear negotiations, an attempted assassination by the MEK, and his own arrest by the Iranian government.  Mousavian also knows the US, his home for the last several years. Few observers can bring such an acute understanding of both countries’ very different perspectives on the world. - Ambassador Jim Walsh
 Seyed Hossein Mousavian provides in a remarkably lucid account the rare opportunity to learn from an Iranian insider who also understands the West. As a former ambassador to Germany, a nuclear negotiator with the current president of Iran, and a scholar at Princeton University, Mousavian has unique credentials to explain the many missed opportunities in the U.S.-Iran relationship.  This book is unusually insightful and pragmatic both, recognizing the costs of enmity and the limits of détente. This deeply knowledgeable analysis is as good as it gets. - John Tirman, Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies, and coauthor of U.S.-Iran Misperceptions: A Dialogue

"Mousavian (former Iranian diplomat; research scholar, Princeton Univ.; The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir) opens with a brief outline of the major events characterizing the positive U.S.-Iranian relations until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, including the admittedly poor decision by the United States in its backing of the 1953 coup and unwavering support of the Shah. The majority of the remaining pages examines the relationship since 1979, exploring the dichotomous cultural and political clash between the two nations. Mousavian does an incredible job of walking readers through the major issues that continue to hamper elusive attempts at attaining peace between the United States and Iran while maintaining a central theme revolving around a "profound mistrust, mis-perceptions, and a lack of mutual understanding." The author concludes by offering a very clear outline, beginning and ending with the need for both sets of leadership to clearly define what the desired end result of a peace process should be—what each side stands to gain and has to offer. This well-researched work written with Shahid Saless is essential to any collection of U.S.-Iranian relations. It is also timely, given President Barack Obama’s April 2014 signing of a law that bars entrance to the United States by any foreign diplomat seen as a threat to national security, which includes Iran’s choice for United Nations envoy Hamid Aboutalebi because of suspicions of his involvement in the hostage crisis. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in international affairs, current events, or in facilitating peaceful relations with Iran."-Brenna Smeall, AtoZdatabases, Omaha, NE, Library Journal

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