Book TV: Leverett, “Going to Tehran”

Here is a very interesting book presentation by Flynt Leverett and Hilary Man Leverett, hosted by the EastWest Institute in New York City. 

According to BookTV they “argue that the U.S. needs to change its policy towards the government of Iran, which they say is a rational actor that will play a leading role in the Middle East for many years to come.”

They essentially believe that US position and influence in the region is in decline while the opposite is happening to Iran’s position.

To them, one of the biggest reasons why US position is in decline is because of what they call “dysfunctional US policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

For years the Leveretts have said that the US must pursue a “grand bargain” with Iran.

The presentation is certainly interesting, but I will be in no hurry to buy their book. The Leveretts believe that Iran’s 2009 elections were in fact genuine, and that the people of Iran support the regime in great numbers. They pay little attention to the regime’s abuse of human rights which has been carried out on a massive scale. This makes their analysis very one sided.

I also believe that their perception of the Iranian government’s influence in the region is greatly exaggerated. If anything, the Arab Spring has been terrible news for the Iranian regime. Let just start by what is happening in Syria and its impact on Iran – Turkey relations. Even Iran’s ally Nouri Al Maliki is under pressure in Iraq. Not to mention Hamas distancing itself from Tehran because of the massacres in Syria of Sunnis and Palestinians. It seems that to the Leveretts these are merely details which have no impact on Iran’s position in the Middle East.