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5.0 out of 5 starsInsightful and entertaining. If I knew they would read it, I gladly buy every congressperson and statesman a copy.
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2017
On my coffee table I currently count thirty three books on Iran/US relations. I bookmark important parts of these books for future reference. I do this by placing post it notes on important passages. For this book, I needed to run to the Dollar Store to increase my supply of notes. It was one of the few books I could not put down (except for that run to the store). Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council stated "there are no experts on Iran, there are only students". I have never found truer words spoken about Iran. I have read far too many books and musings written by self proclaimed "Iranian experts" only to find them to be gradeschoolers with a few kindergarten students mixed in. I agree with Barbara but I can honestly say Dr Trita Parsi, when it comes to Iran, is doctoral student. I fear he may be the only one. We could surely use a few more.
5.0 out of 5 stars* I recommend an important book for everyone
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2017
I comment with my blog that was posted today in ahalmos.wordpress.com: "Fontos könyvet ajánlok mindenki figyelmébe. A szerző neve is sugallja: Iráni születésű, kisgyermekként a zoroasztrianizmus (és nem az iszlám) emlőin nevelkedett. Később azonban svéd és amerikai egyetemeken tanult, és ért el tudományos fokozatot. Azért emelem ki mindezt, mert a könyv az iráni nukleáris programról folytatott – nagyrészt titkos – tárgyalásokkal foglalkozik.
Mint a National Iranian American Council megalapítója, magánjellegű beszélgetéseken keresztül figyelemmel tudta kísérni a tárgyalások menetét. Teljesen egyetértek vele abban, hogy a diplomáciai megoldás megmentette a világot egy katasztrofális háborútól, az USA pedig “elvesztett” egy ellenséget. A kalandregénybe illő tárgyalásokat az azokról rendszeres tájékoztatást kapó Netanjahu aljasságig menő beavatkozásokra használta fel, Obama ellen uszítva a Kongresszust, az ott aktív szerepet játszó zsidó (lobbi) szervezeteket. Tette ezt az izraeli biztonsági szervezetek ellenvéleményének semmibe vételével. Itt az ideje, hogy Izrael népe eltávolítsa a hatalomból.
I recommend an important book for everyone. The author’s name suggests: He was born in Iran, and was raised as a young child on the breast of Zoroastrianism (and not of Islam). Later, however, he studied at Swedish and American universities and gained scientific degrees. I stress all these because the book deals with – largely secret – negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program.
As the founder of the National Iranian American Council, he was able to follow the course of negotiations through private conversations. I fully agree with him that the diplomatic solution has saved the world from a catastrophic war, and the United States has “eluded” an enemy. The adventurous talks were used by Netanyahu – who was regularly informed – to foully intervene, instigating against Obama the Congress and the Jewish (lobby) organizations that played an active part in it. He did this neglecting the contrary opinion of Israeli security organizations. It is time for the people of Israel to remove him from power.
5.0 out of 5 starsthe characterizations of the better known negotiators reflect popular perceptions
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2018
Trita Parsi, fluent in English and Farsi and acquainted with all the major players in the diplomacy that took three years to produce the Iran nuclear deal, is uniquely qualified to write this account. He has an intimate knowledge of both US and Iranian politics. It is his step-by-step focus on the evolution of the “deal” that helps make the book so informative, and it is the inclusion of human details that makes it so interesting.
Parsi takes us into the minds of the negotiators for Obama as well as Rouhani. Both sides of the story are presented with equal understanding. The book explains disputes over low-enriched and high-enriched uranium, kilograms of stockpiles, nuclear bomb “breakout” capability, “snapback sanctions,” and, most importantly, explains why the US and Europe allowed Iran to enrich uranium at all.
Since Parsi knows and had contact with US, Iranian, Russian, and other diplomats and negotiators, he can humanize the discussions. For example, he says Saeed Jalili, an early negotiator who later ran unsuccessfully against Rouhani, was known for “his tendency to hold long monologues addressing the many injustices Iran had suffered at the hand of Western powers.” Of the US negotiator Talwar Puneet, the only White House staffer who had actually visited Iran, he says, “the respect Iranians showed Puneet was noticeable.” The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, we’re told, after a last minute objection by the French foreign minister threatened to scuttle the talks, got so angry he “was spotted entering the hotel bar ordering a full bottle of vodka.”
For the most part, the characterizations of the better known negotiators reflect popular perceptions. Javad Zarif, currently Iran’s foreign minister, “had a likability that’s off the charts,” yet we’re told he’s also known for his temper. And John Kerry, with a “reputation for being unflappable,” is also described as once losing his temper and slamming “his fist so hard on the table that his pen flew across it and hit one of the Iranian negotiators.” Not that the negotiations often reached points like this. Parsi says that “even at the height of their tense exchanges, the negotiators could at the same time only be moments away from laughter. In fact, laughter was often what saved them from diplomatic dead ends.”
I had presumed the nuclear negotiations were based on the countries’ desire for strength and safety, and to a large extent this was true. But Parsi’s narrative views countries, especially Iran, as people who are susceptible to slights and having their feelings hurt and taking offense. Countries, his thesis goes, see each other as “rivals” for prestige and the world’s attention. They want to “take center stage” and assert their “right to play the role of a regional power.” According to Parsi, it was the Obama administration’s understanding that Iran wanted to be respected, recognized as an important country, and included among legitimate nations that enabled reaching this agreement that stands as one of the greatest diplomatic achievements of modern times.
5.0 out of 5 starsA thoughtful and intelligent analysis of the Iran deal
Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2017
Parsi is a thoughtful and intelligent voice on Iranian-American relations and his new book, "Losing an Enemy," only further proves that. In addition to offer helpful context, Parsi offers original observations and rich details regarding the negotiations and diplomacy that went into the Iran deal. At a time when Donald Trump and others seek to minimize the Iran deal to a few soundbites, Parsi's book shows us why Trump's comments are no only ill-informed, but his comments are also irresponsible. "Losing an Enemy" is also written so well that it reads like a novel. In short, "Losing an Enemy" is a superb and informative read that should be required reading in Washington, D.C.—it's a text that should be read by all students of American diplomacy to understand why the Iran deal provides a blueprint for future diplomatic situations.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2017
Even though I have read only first five chapters, this book is worth its weight in gold rich in opening chapters on probably most important international agreements in recent years. Mr Paris has certainly used all sources available to him in getting to heart of the nuclear deal between America, countries on the UN Security Council and Iran. He used the first chapters to lay down the background towards the historic accord in 2015 charting relationship between the US and Iran under the Bush Administration and then Obama presidency. I believe in the deal reached, and from early reading of this fine volume of work I am reassured that it will prove to me the value of this critical agreement built on the skill of diplomacy employed both sides in reaching final deal in 2015. This is a book that be reference, even if events overtake it under the presidency of Donald Trump.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent account, much fuller than his others
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2017
Excellent account, much fuller than his others, and absolutely topical. The author lays much of the blame on Bibi Netanyahu and the Republicans controlled by two well-funded Israel lobbies in the US. What is disgraceful is the hypocrisy of the US position - in 1975 Kissinger, aided by Rumsfeld and Wolfawitz were selling nuclear equipment to Iran and making $6billion from the business. That is only the start of a shoddy history in which Iran and the US emerge as equally to blame, but the US possibly more so.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book, the introduction will hook you in all ...
Reviewed in Canada on January 18, 2018
Great book, the introduction will hook you in all the way, It is also noted that the book is written by someone who understands Iran, and has stood the test of time of not changing his views for ulterior motives on this very controversial subject (unlike many others)
Absolute must read for anyone interested in geopolitics, diplomacy and how foreign policy is shaped. Trita Parsi has put together an impressive work in which he takes us inside the nuclear talks. With over 70 interviews with top government officials and actual negotiators from all sides, Parsi's book offers a unique perspective to understand how diplomacy triumphed. The fascinating behind-the-scenes accounts offers keys to understanding each side's national security interests, concerns and domestic constraints on foreign policy maneuverability. Brilliant!