Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, And The Triumph Of Diplomacy

Hardcover | April 18, 2017

byTrita Parsi

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This timely book focuses on President Obama’s deeply considered strategy toward Iran’s nuclear program and reveals how the historic agreement of 2015 broke the persistent stalemate in negotiations that had blocked earlier efforts.

The deal accomplished two major feats in one stroke: it averted the threat of war with Iran and prevented the possibility of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Trita Parsi, a Middle East foreign policy expert who advised the Obama White House throughout the talks and had access to decision-makers and diplomats on the U.S. and Iranian sides alike, examines every facet of a triumph that could become as important and consequential as Nixon’s rapprochement with China. Drawing from more than seventy-five in-depth interviews with key decision-makers, including Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, this is the first authoritative account of President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.

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This timely book focuses on President Obama’s deeply considered strategy toward Iran’s nuclear program and reveals how the historic agreement of 2015 broke the persistent stalemate in negotiations that had blocked earlier efforts. The deal accomplished two major feats in one stroke: it averted the threat of war with Iran and prevented ...

Trita Parsi is president of the National Iranian American Council. He teaches at Johns Hopkins University and at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He lives in Reston, VA.

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see all books by Trita Parsi
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:April 18, 2017Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300218168

ISBN - 13:9780300218169

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What does the title “Losing an Enemy” signify? Has the nuclear deal truly transformed U.S.-Iran relations?   I chose the title for two reasons. First, though the U.S. and Iran remain at odds, the nuclear deal has turned them from lethal enemies to mere rivals. That is quite significant because it shows the transformative potential of the nuclear deal—a potential I argue is slipping out of our hands. Secondly, the intense fight around the nuclear deal revealed how strong the forces are—in Washington and in Tehran—who don’t want to lose an enemy. Who fear peace more than they fear war. This deal was ultimately less about nuclear details and more about whether we were ready to close the chapter of enmity.   It’s a story about war vs. peace?   It’s a story about how to make peace, an art that we have largely lost. It’s about the secret mediation of the tiny Sultanate of Oman, whose deft and largely unrevealed maneuvering saved the U.S. from yet another disastrous war. Most Americans don’t know, I fear, how close we were to war and how difficult and taxing diplomacy is. Mindful of our turbulent times, I am hoping that this book will help us rediscover that art form.   But it is also a book that delves into both historic analysis and contemporary politics? Yes, it provides both a historical analysis of the geopolitical context that made the nuclear deal with Iran so critical (and of why Israel and Saudi Arabia so vehemently opposed it) as well as an inside account of the Obama administration’s biggest foreign policy fight with Congress—and how Obama won it against all odds. I interviewed top decision-makers on all sides in the negotiations, including Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and I also had a front row seat to the political fight in Congress, all of which helped me weave the story together.