When President Obama took office in 2009, one of his most notable proclamations was his commitment to a more open foreign policy. During the 2008 presidential debates, then-Senator Obama openly declared the importance that the United States “talk to the Syrians and the Iranians”, remarking that those who think otherwise “ignore our own history.” The relationship between the U.S. and Iran had been strained under George W. Bush’s presidency and the first election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, worsening the now-institutionalized animosity between the two nations dating back to the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis. No sooner had Obama been sworn into office than he attempted to extend an open hand towards an Iranian clenched fist. With U.S.-Iran relations reaching new strains amidst recent developments on sanctions against Iran, our retrospective glance is bound to follow the trajectory of the United States’ role in the Middle East, where our presence in Iran’s neighboring countries has been of paramount concern for relations between the two countries. Already the analysis has begun.
In his new book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran, Trita Parsi, has conducted new research through interviews with White House and top-ranking officials from the U.S., Iran, Israel, the EU, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Brazil to propose a startling idea: what if diplomacy has yet to be fully pursued despite perceptions and the course of events at the start of Obama’s presidency? Parsi uncovers the full details of the diplomatic encounters between Washington and Tehran during Obama’s early presidency, assessing how and why Obama’s diplomacy ended up being a single roll of the dice: It had to work either immediately—or not at all.
Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council and author of the award-winning Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, returns to the Yale Press Podcast with host Chris Gondek to talk about A Single Roll of the Dice, published this week. Today, you can read a book excerpt on TheAtlantic.com and our podcast interview is available now from our website, from iTunes, even right here on the Yale Press Log; always for free. Listen and go!
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