Launching the Going to Tehran Blog…and a Recommendation from Foreign Policy

We are pleased to launch our new blog, www.GoingtoTehran.comGoing to Tehran is very much a continuation of our previous blog,  (Race for Iran will remain active as a repository for our previous posts, with comments, going all the way back to October 2009.)  But Going to Tehran represents a new focus in our work, a focus reflected as well in our new book of the same title (to be published January 8, 2013):  Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The next six-to-twenty-four months are likely to be an extremely consequential period for U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.  We want both our new book and this blog to make the most constructive contribution possible to American and international discussion of how Washington should deal with Tehran.  We invite all to join the conversation.

To get the New Year off to a good start, we are also pleased to note that Foreign Policy selected Going to Tehran as a top recommended book in its “What to Read in 2013” list, see here.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 


46 Responses to “Launching the Going to Tehran Blog…and a Recommendation from Foreign Policy”

  1. Fiorangela says:

    Congratulations and wishes for success with Going to Tehran.

    = = =

    The Foreign Policy article said:

    “the Mann Leverett duo’s sure to be controversial new book argues that concerns about Iran’s nuclear program have been overblown. The country is ready for a change, they say, calling for a bold overture from the United States akin to Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China.”

    WHICH country is “ready for a change?”
    Even the greenest of marriage counselors knows that one can only change oneself, not the Other.

  2. Fiorangela says:

    PS Please publish a list of your book tour stops as soon as a schedule becomes available.

  3. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Hi, best wishes for the new blog, may I suggest integrating a more modern comments system e.g. Disqus – it’s a bit of a waste to reload all the comments just to read the latest ones (and in the wrong order)

    Also, am I the only one getting ‘you are not authorized …’ when clicking on the link to FP?
    (even after creating the free account)

    Good luck with your endeavors.

  4. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Congratulations and best wishes with Going to Tehran.
    May you endure in your uphill climb.

    whoa, upside down comments. Cool.

  5. Castellio says:

    Best wishes in the New Year, and may your important work bear fruit.

  6. Castellio says:

    For those interested both in propaganda as a historical process and a North Korean critique of the west – itself compiled for reasons of propaganda – this may prove both interesting and appalling.

  7. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I hope that you are indeed “Going to Tehran” so that we can see you at the Hollywoodism Conference.

  8. BiBiJon says:

    Happy new year, and happy new blog, also to WaPo’s editorial board

    ” if negotiations remain stalled, Mr. Obama should consider making Iran a comprehensive offer that would permanently restrict its uranium enrichment and provide for intensive international monitoring in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. That would have the advantage of confronting the regime with a stark choice — and making clear whether a diplomatic solution exists.”

    Let’s pretend this is WaPo’s idea, even though Iran has been sounding out this precise framework for a settlement for years.

    If sanctions are lifted, Iran (and her trade partners) should not forget how western financial institutions were used as instruments of war.

  9. Rd. says:

    “2012 Predictions of war with Iran that didn’t Happen”

    It’s June 15, 1992. A news nugget on page A-12 of the Washington Post reports that the chief of Israel’s Air Force believes military action might be necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons:

    Fast forward a decade. Weeks after Iran had quietly assisted the US in achieving its initial victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush branded Iran as part of an “axis of evil” during his 2002 State of the Union speech. In an interview with the London Times, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on the international community “to target Iran as soon as the imminent conflict with Iraq is complete.” Sharon insisted that the day after the Iraq war (which had not yet begun) ended, the war against Iran must begin.

    During 2012, not a month passed when the prospect of an Israeli attack on Iran didn’t generate hyperventilated headlines”

  10. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “If sanctions are lifted, Iran (and her trade partners) should not forget how western financial institutions were used as instruments of war.”

    Further, to limit and minimize the dependency on oil income. Given the spread of the saudi royal wahabi disease in the region, is there a potential to use the oil pricing as the means to degrade saudi / qatari influence in the region?

    The Saudis return to Afghanistan

  11. kooshy says:

    Happy New year to every blogger on this site specially the hosts, whishing them success on their optimized and energetic focus “ Going to Tehran”

    BiBiJon says:
    January 3, 2013 at 9:31 am


    Reading the WP editorial last night, reminded me of Obayd’s “Mush-O-Gorbeh” where he recite “ Gorbeh( Fred Hiatt of WP) shoud abed o Musalmana”

    گربه شد عابد و مسلمانا

    This verse is from a famous Iranian poet Obayd i Zakani’s Masnavi Mush-O-Gorbeh (Mouse and Cat),which has become a very famous Persian proverb, where the Cat pretends has changed to a pious Muslim and does forbidden to pray on the muse “ Cat has changed to a pious Muslim”

    Ubayd Zakani

    Nezam od-Din Ubeydollah Zâkâni (Persian: خواجه نظام‌الدین عبیدالله زاکانی‎), or simply Ubayd-i Zākāni (Persian: عبید زاکانی‎ c. 1300 – 1371 CE), was a Persian poet and satirist of the 14th century (Timurid Period) from the city of Qazvin. He studied in Shiraz, Iran under the best masters of his day, but eventually moved back to his native town of Qazvin. He however preferred Shiraz to Qazvin, as he was a court poet in Shiraz for Shah Abu Ishaq, where a young Hafez was present as well.
    His work is noted for its satire and obscene verses, often political or bawdy, and often cited in debates involving homosexual practices. He wrote the Resaleh-ye Delgosha, as well as Akhlaq al-Ashraf (“Ethics of the Aristocracy”) and the famous humorous fable Masnavi Mush-O-Gorbeh (Mouse and Cat), which was a political satire. His non-satirical serious classical verses have also been regarded as very well written, in league with the other great works of Persian literature. He is one of the most remarkable poets, satirists and social critics of Iran (Persia), whose works have not received proper attention in the past. His books are translated into Russian, Danish, Italian, English, and German (by Joachim Wohlleben, 2009: seemingly the first translation of the complete work into a Western language).

  12. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that Condoleezza Rice admitted fairly recently that she had seen nothing objectionable in G W Bush’s branding Iran a member of the “Axis of Evil” in his 2003 State of the Union address.

    Gross ignorance and stupidity, on the part of both Bush and Rice.

  13. James Canning says:

    Good luck with the book and this new site.

  14. James Canning says:

    Does one-third of the American public think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in planning the “9/11” attacks?

    Al Gore is selling his cable company to al-Jazeera. Scott McConnell, “Al Jazeera finds a home”

  15. BiBiJon says:


    I think the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey, Pkistan, US, etc are engaged in ‘ragtagism.’

    They can cause a lot of trouble but I doubt it will ever amount to a strategic gain. The risks are of course enabling wild animals who tend to bite the hand that feeds them.

  16. Rahmat Haghshenas says:

    Happy New Year and congratulations dear Flynt and Hillary for your exemplary integrity and devotion to peace. And of course congrats for this well-timed book. How can your readers help promote the book in the US and abroad?

  17. James Canning says:


    Interesting Washington Post editorial you linked. I assume you noticed that the Post and The New York Times both claim Iran “diverted” 20 percent uranium, by converting it into fuel for the TRR.

    I think the truth of the matter is that Iran was forced to enrich to 20% by American stupdiidty in blocking Iran’s IAEA application to buy the replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR. WaPo and the NYT seem keen to conceal this fact.

  18. James Canning says:

    Chuck Hagel opposes regime change in Iran. Or, better stated, Hagel says that those who push for regime change in Iran, muddle up the situation and make it more difficult to carry out a sensible policy in dealing with Iran. (US News & World Report website.)

  19. Pirouz says:

    Very much like the concept of an updated blog/focus. Looking forward to reading the upcoming book and some day going back to Tehran when relations are restored.

  20. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Hey! We now have top to bottom posting instead of the ridiculous reverse! The Leveretts have entered the 21st Century of Internet forums! 🙂

  21. Pirouz says:

    I just checked and found out the two library systems I subscribe to have pre-ordered multiple copies of GTT, per request. My request was through Amazon and I see the title will be available on Tuesday, 8th of January.

  22. James Canning says:

    Seyed Hossein Mousavian has an opinion piece in today’s New York Times (“Hot to talk to Iran”). He says Iran would likely limit enrichment to 5% if the sanctions are dropped. Issue to him is how to give Iran enough up front to make a deal possible, in P5+1 negotiations.

    Mousavian mentions the utter imbecility of G W Bush in labeling Iran a member of the “axis of evil”.

    We still do not know for sure whether Condoleezza Rice actually was so stupid as not to see a problem with that comment (in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address), or instead she is only pretending to have been so foolish.

  23. Mohammad says:

    As a (often silent) regular reader, I feel obliged to congratulate and wish you every success in continuing the great and courageous work you’ve been doing.

    From my seat in front of my PC in Tehran, there seems to be a growing feeling in the U.S. that the current course cannot continue vis-à-vis Iran, and that the U.S. must come to terms with Tehran, at least on the nuclear issue. I hope my perception is not wishful thinking, but if this is indeed happening, the Leveretts’ tireless efforts are probably an important driver behind it.

  24. James Canning says:

    Boris Johnson, writing in The Spectator 27 January 2007 (“Diary”): ‘[I]t is clear [Condoleezza Rice] was the most stupefyingly incompetent National Security Adviser in the history of that office.”

  25. hello says:

    congratulation and thank you for the book and the new blog

  26. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ Mohamad

    “I hope my perception is not wishful thinking”

    Perhaps it isn’t:

    Obama poised to nominate Chuck Hagel as US defence secretary

  27. James Canning says:

    Noam Chomsky has noted how most Americans are not even aware of the effort to create a Middle East free of nukes. Nor are they aware of the US’s role in making this effort more difficult. Why? Israel lobby.

  28. James Canning says:

    Bronwen Maddox, writing in The Times (London) December 19th: ‘At William Hague’s annual party for ambassadors and Foreign Office officials at Lancaster House on Thursday, the Foreign Secretary made a point of saying that the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock was a priority for the new year. Officials added that Britain intends to get in early, “lobbying Kerry, Rice, whoever it is”. . .’

  29. Sineva says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 3, 2013 at 9:31 am
    Indeed iran must continue to find and develop ways and systems of doing business that avoid western institutions as much as possible or better yet cut them out completely,the one good thing from this is that many other nations have no doubt realized that they are just as or even more vulnerable than iran to this kind of economic warfare and that it is in the interests of all to develop non western alternatives to these institutions

  30. James Canning says:

    I find it interesting that there is so little commment on Hossein Mousavian’s piece in The New York Times this past week (“How to talk to Iran”). His primary point is that Iran’s sense of pride and honour must be accomodated for any deal with the P5+1 to be achieved.

  31. James Canning says:

    Noam Chomsky observed this week: “Last month, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling on Israel to join the NPT, 174-6.” The US, in its typically foolish manner, voted against the measure. What a surprise.

  32. James Canning says:


    I assume you are aware that China is conerned about the economic slow-down in Europe.
    And perhaps you are aware the Chinese gov’t has paid $1.3 billion for a commercial property in west London. High energy prices are hurting the European economy and pushing London property values higher.

  33. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    January 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm
    Excellent news lets hope europes pain only gets worse,I think thats the only way there will be any real political change in europe,not to mention economic,the europeans have a choice to make the longer they procrastinate the more it will hurt

  34. ToivoS says:

    Tried to post this at RfI under the thred:

    “Can the United States Think Strategically About Iran, China, and the Deepening Ties Between the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia?”

    Dear Flynt and Hillary.

    You mention China in your headline but really say little about it. I, and suspect many of your readers, would be interested in your thoughts about how China figures in Western interactions with Iran.

    For example it would be greatly in Iran’s interests in the face of Western hostility to move closer to Asia. What is happening with the Shanghai Cooperative Organization? Is that strengthening and are their moves afoot to make Iran a full member?

    We have all heard about the possibility of China becoming part of a international currency exchange that excludes the US dollar and Western controlled banks. Obviously Iran would benefit greatly from such an exchange.

    Such moves by China might provoke US retaliation and this might be staying their hand. Also such moves might undermine the US dollar as the reserve currency which could cost China dearly with its trillion dollars in T notes.

    In any case, even if you really cannot give expert advice on these questions, we would be most interested in knowing what your opinions are.

  35. James Canning says:


    I take it you agree China prefers that the European economy grows rather than shrinks.

  36. James Canning says:


    China has a huge stake in keeping the maritime lanes open in the Strait of Hormuz. At times, Iran would appear not to give sufficient weight to this Chinese interest.

  37. masoud says:

    Does anybody know where I can find Hassan Rowhani’s memoirs?

    Tranlated to english, if possible?

  38. Photi says:

    Best wishes and much success to the Leveretts and their new blog. I have been working long hours lately and so have not been able to follow the dysfunctional relationship between the US and Iran as closely as i like, but at least i know where to go to get the best info.

    Keep it up, we need you!!!

  39. PB says:

    Why the change of web address??

  40. James Canning says:


    Reza Morashi is quite right to note that “the Greens” opposed the nuclear exchange. Neocons and others in the US like to keep this fact concealed.

    I think it is fair to say Dennis Ross did all he could to block any true engagement with Iran, by the Obama administration.

  41. Mohammad says:


    It can be bought in Enqelab’s bookstores, as well as online bookstores like i ketab. I doubt that it has been translated to English, but the Ettela’at Publications online bookstore says that it will ship the original book to anywhere in the world.
    The front matter of the book is also available on its official webpage.

  42. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    James Canning says:
    January 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    This is Going to Tehran,james not Going to Beijing,its whats important to iran that counts,iran can take chinas interests into account but only when they don`t clash with irans,iran did not free itself from the shackles of us “friendship” to replace them with shackles labeled made in china.Iran must do what is right for iran and if that occasionally upsets china then thats just tough after all china has no problem doing the same thing with regards to iran

  43. James Canning says:


    I think the point you are missing is that some of those who post on this site think that China will accept whatever decisions Iran makes, and that China somehow is trying to “undermine” the US, the EU, Japan, and other countries.

    Iran is China’s #3 oil supplier. It seems reasonable to expect China to insist sea lanes to its #1 and #2 suppliers remain open.

  44. James Canning says:


    You appear to argue that Iran will be a “slave” in “shackles” if it stops enriching uranium to 20 percent without achieving a written agreement that sanctions will be lifted.