What do the Leveretts Think of Ahmadinejad’s “Regime”?; Today on the Daily Dish

This week, as we prepare for the release of Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are pleased to be featured on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish—or, more specifically, on The Dish’s “Ask Anything” video series.  As The Dish’s editors note, “During the Iranian uprising of 2009, the Dish continuously clashed with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the most well-known skeptics of the Green Movement.”  Given that history, we are grateful to Andrew Sullivan and his colleagues for reaching out to us at this critical time in America’s ongoing debate about how to deal with the Islamic Republic.

Following its usual practice, The Dish polled its readers to come up with a set of questions for us.  So click here or on the embedded video above to see the first installment of “Ask the Leveretts Anything.”  This one deals with our view of “the Ahmadinejad regime.”

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


17 Responses to “What do the Leveretts Think of Ahmadinejad’s “Regime”?; Today on the Daily Dish”

  1. James Canning says:

    Quite obviously, there is no Ahmadinejad “regime”.

  2. James Canning says:

    As most of us know very well, I hope, Sheldon Adelson has spent scores of millons of dollars, promoting the idiotic Israeli colonisation scheme in the West Bank. By promoting the political careers of foolish US politicians.

    I recommend Philip Weiss, “Robert Reich pretends he’s stupid”


  3. James Canning says:

    Ed Luce of the Financial Times online (ft.com/rachmanblog) has a great piece: “Hagel has seen the enemy, and it is pork-barrel spending”.

  4. Jake says:


    Very excited to have found your work through the Daily Dish. Will this blog be available through RSS? I’d like to add it to my blogreel and it doesn’t seem to be compatible right now.



  5. Tuyzentfloot says:

    Hello. Maybe I didn’t search well enough, but I think this site doesn’t have an RSS feed yet, and it would be very convenient if it did.

  6. humanist says:

    On timely coincidence of publishing FAS report and ‘Going to Tehran’:

    All over history coherent, objective and research based conceptions have consistently defeated any opposing subjective, superstitious or mass manipulating propositions.

    Relevant to article in this thread, regarding the Leveretts’ proposal of rapprochement with Iran, the two NIEs (in 2007 and 2011) were in full harmony with that peaceful wise idea…. but…..the agitated angry reactions of warmongers to those compelling Estimates were historical.

    The reactions manifested the frustrated, defeated and humiliated mood of the Likudniks. They however, using their powerful MSM, succeeded in discrediting and belittling the NIEs in the eyes of the sheeple. Congress and the Administration also continuously acted as the Estimates never existed causing the pileup of anti-Iran UN resolutions, crippling sanctions and other harsh bellicose measures.

    Lately, for the first time, a purely scientific ‘Report’ on Iran has surfaced that more directly and more convincingly reveals the colossal folly of aggressive anti-Iran actions. It also shows how rewarding a ‘De-escalation’ (and by extension a rapprochement with Iran) can bear mutually beneficial fruits.

    It is a Special Report dated November 2012 published by Federation of American Scientists entitled Sanctions, Military Strikes, and Other Potential Actions against Iran.

    According Wikipedia: The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is a nonpartisan organization intent on using science and scientific analysis to attempt to make the world more secure. FAS was founded in 1945 by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs.

    See the 30 page PDF report in the following link:


    (If necessary, during reading the report one can Google expressions such as ‘Expert Elicitation’, ‘Quantitative Methodology’ etc to further assess the gravity of the above timely and extremely important work).

    I was waiting for this type of research for years. On September 19, 2011 in RaceForIran.com I wrote:

    Why scientific attention is not directed towards EXTREMELY important topics such as the immense benefits of coexistence and utter folly of wars and empires. Publication of a thesis and an extensive Computer Simulation on war versus cooperation can wake up the entire world.

    Now I feel a sense of partial satisfaction realizing that finally the gigantic power of science is going to be used to combat against the warmongers. I ardently HOPE the above report, in conjunction with other works such as Going to Tehran act as the straw that breaks the monster’s back.

    A brief Summary of the Report regarding Approximate Three Months Average Global Cost or Benefit:

    1. Case of Increasing Pressures: costs: US$64 billion.

    2. Case of Isolation and Persian Gulf Blockade: costs: US$325 billion.

    3. Case of Surgical Strikes: costs: US$713 billion.

    4. Case of Comprehensive Bombing Campaign: costs: US$1.2 trillion.

    5. Case of Full-Scale Invasion: cost: US$60 billion

    6. Case of De-Escalation: benefit: US$60 billion.

    Please, if you are convinced of the great importance of this report spread the big word around.

    The faint light at the end of this dark long tunnel is now more visible than ever before.

  7. humanist says:


    Please in my previous comment instead of:

    5. Case of Full-Scale Invasion: cost: US$60 billion


    5. Case of Full-Scale Invasion: cost: US$1.7 trillion

  8. Dave says:

    I generally concur with most of what the Leveretts have to say about Iran. With regard to the question on Ahmadinejad, the Leveretts could have added that:
    (i) Ahmadinejad does not represent a regime any more than Obama does.
    (ii) Ahmadinejad is the first non-cleric to occupy the presidency of Iran.
    (iii) During his presidency, Ahmadinejad has promoted Iranian cultural heritage and
    nationalism to the dismay of the clerical establishment.
    (iv) Contrary to what the Levertts claim, Ahmadinejad’s economic populism have been
    devastating for Iran. Shortly after taking office, Ahmadinejad dismantled the
    “Plan Organization”, over-ruled the “Central Bank” and set the “deposit rates”
    lower than the rate of inflation, went around the provinces approving “populist
    projects” without prior appraisals. During Ahmadinejad’s presidency, Iran’s oil
    revenues were substantially higher than during Khatemei and/or Rafsanjani’s
    presidency. Yet, Iranian economy grew at lower rates during Ahmadinejad’s
    presidency that in prior period. The purchasing power of Iranian currency
    during Ahmadinejad’s presidency eroded at a much faster pace that during
    Khatemi and/or Rafsanjani’s presidency.
    (v) Western politician would like to attribute recent economic setbacks in Iran to
    “the sanctions”. On this, Ahmadinejad and the Islamic regime find it expedient
    to concur with the western politicians. Nonetheless, Iran’s economic setbacks
    has more to do with the clerical cronyism, Ahmadinejad’s economic
    mismanagement, the regime’s incompetence in anticipating the Western sanctions
    and failure to take effective and timely measures to counter them.

  9. Richard Steven Hack says:

    That estimate of the cost of an invasion of Iran is probably low by a factor of three at least. The Iraq war is estimated to eventually cost $3 trillion. Of course that depends on how quickly the US is forced to withdraw.

    The problem is that the US doesn’t intend an invasion and occupation of all of Iran as it did Iraq. However, first, it has to invade the coastal area of Iran near the Strait of Hormuz, and indeed much of the Persian Gulf coastline, in order to secure the Strait during the war. This in itself will be unsustainable and subject US forces to continual conventional and guerrilla attacks over time with significantly higher levels of casualties than occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Second, the obvious intent is to seize the Khuzestan oil fields which provides a significant part of Iran’s income. Holding these fields will also be unsustainable. But the US ruling elites will insist on it because that’s how they will keep the war going and also most seriously effect the oil price.

    And the goal IS to keep the war going for as long as domestically politically sustainable just as it was in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan. Otherwise, the military-industrial complex and the oil companies and banks will lose their windfall profits, which in turn will depress the stock market. And that can’t be allowed by these people.

    So the US will NOT withdraw quickly from an invasion of Iran. It will not try to occupy the bulk of Iran because it is not necessary – although the idiots at the Pentagon may be drawn into deeper penetration of Iran if they think it necessary to “get at the enemy”. This sort of stupid military myopia is common in war – remember the efforts in Vietnam to cross into other countries to deal with the Viet Cong and NVA, not to mention the drone strikes into Pakistan.

    On other news, Glenn Greenwald has explicitly pointed out in The Guardian that Obama’s appointment of John Brennan as new CIA chief is an example of Obama’s own extremism in the areas of extra-judicial murder and torture. This is a critical point that people who think Obama is still trying to get a “diplomatic resolution” with Iran simply don’t get.

    And finally, the guy who first (other than Obama himself) suggested last year about this time imposing a naval blockade on Iran, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steiniz, arrived in Washington to urge Obama to provide a “credible threat” to add to the Obama sanctions regime.

    Want to bet what “credible threat” he’s going to mention? Anyone think he’s not going to push his blockade concept?

  10. imho says:

    Good luck Leveretts with the new site.

    That’s it. Hagel is nominated


    Now, war on Iran seems far but is he wise enough to understand that sanctions are a prelude to war anyway; that is the current situation can’t last another four years

  11. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    imho says:
    January 8, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Its interesting to see that Hagel is still stating openly that he does not support unilateral US sanctions on Iran and (correctly) stating such unilateral sanctions do not work.


  12. BiBiJon says:

    See Hilary discuss Hagel’s nomination


    While I understand that SecDef position is not a determinant of foreign policy, or even war-and-peace, I think Hagel’s nomination already has, and will have even more during confirmation hearings, a profound impact on domestic constituencies that have hijacked US foreign policy.

    Whether it is the oversize influence of the “military-industrail-complex”, or the Israel Lobby, or the Christian Zionists, or the run of the mill Islamophobes, the White house, for the first time is pushing back on undue, unearned, and entirely illegitimate vetting/vetoing power of loudmouths.

    I can just imagine exchanges between Lindsey Graham and Chuck Hagel during confirmation:

    Graham: How do you explain being one of only two senators to vote against the Iran sanctions act?

    Hagel: I think the lack of diversity of opinion on a matter so consequential needs explaining by the 98 Senators who voted for it.

    Graham: Why have you not signed AIPAC letters?

    Hagel: Senator, has there been a single AIPAC letter you have not signed? As a Senator, I had a staff, access to information, and the counsel of fellow senators to formulate my own thoughts. I did not need AIPAC to think, and write opinions for me to sign.


    Anyways, the curtain is being pulled back on wizard of Oz. Already, William Kristol has pulled his Google ad. I expect many others to abandon the Lobby ship before Hagel hits the fan.

    Yes, Foreign policy will not change. But, the lens through which we were all supposed to look at the world will crack.

  13. BiBiJon says:


    There’s some chatter about how out of the mainstream it was for Hagel suggesting to talk to Hamas.

    Well, I guess folks didn’t know what John-BeechBoys-McCain said:


  14. James Canning says:


    Iran’s Intelligence ministry says Obama adopted the sanctions in an effort to avoid war.

  15. BiBiJon says:


    I take it back. Kristol hasn’t pull his Google ad. Obviously, he is more of masochist than I thought possible.

  16. ToivoS says:

    lobelog writes: “Parliament suspended the second phase of the Targeted Subsidies Reform Act of 2010 — the center-piece of Ahmadinejad’s “Great Economic Surgery” — in November.”


    Isn’t this the reform that Hillary is praising in this vid. What is the issue? I thought Lobe was one of the good guys.

  17. James Canning says:


    John McCain obviously saw that Hamas had won the Palestinian elections and should be eligible for talks with the US.

    Elliott Abrams had a dfferent idea: conspire with Israel to overthrow Hamas in Gaza.