There is no more controversial issue on the foreign policy agenda than how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. A year and a half ago, we published Iran and the Bomb, containing highlights from three decades of our coverage on the topic. Since then, the issue has remained on the world’s front burner, with the direct negotiations begun last fall marking a new era of diplomatic progress. Supporters of the interim accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) consider the agreement a landmark event paving the way for an end to one of the world’s most enduring and volatile conflicts. Many critics take the opposite view, seeing it as a modern-day Munich paving the way for an eventual nuclear Iran. Whether the negotiations will succeed or fail, and what the consequences will be in either case, will be among 2014’s most gripping dramas.
As usual, Foreign Affairs has been at the center of public debate over these events, and with the negotiations coming to a head, we have decided to publish an update to our earlier collection, pulling together a broad range of pieces from the last year that illuminate Iran’s turn toward negotiations, the pros and cons of the interim agreement, and the geopolitical and psychological intricacies of the crucial U.S.-Iranian-Israeli triangle. Once again, the authors include world-renowned experts from several disciplines and professional backgrounds, and once again their arguments span every significant position on the political spectrum. Now, as before, therefore, the collection offers an excellent overview of the current situation and all the material required for readers to develop their own opinions about how to proceed.
The first section of the book contains articles examining the inner workings of the Iranian regime. “Who Is Ali Khamenei?” by the Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji, is a groundbreaking intellectual profile of Iran’s enigmatic supreme leader, the single most important decision-maker in the entire
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