Ellen Laipson contributes, “Reading Iran,” a chapter in the “The Iran Primer,” a joint product of the United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Reading Iran is critical to U.S. policy-making to understand the threats and dangers, as well as changing conditions that create opportunities for engaging Tehran. But U.S. government analysts, even those with strong academic credentials and language skills, have struggled to understand Iranian politics and the constantly shifting balance of power among its many factions. Limited access has impeded accurate assessments. From the start, the revolutionary regime condemned the West and limited contacts because of U.S. support for the monarchy. Iran’s culture also values secrecy. And Shiite tradition honors taqiya, or deception in the name of survival. All three factors have made it even harder to provide reliable answers on which to base government action.
“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 top experts-both Western and Iranian-to offer comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. It is an unprecedented project by 50 of the world’s top scholars on Iran representing some 20 foreign policy think tanks, eight universities, and senior foreign policy officials from six U.S. administrations. The book has no single political perspective or agenda, as the authors approach the subjects with a wide range of views.
For more information about “Reading Iran,” please click here.
For more information about “The Iran Primer,” please click here.