For more than a quarter of a century, few countries have been as resistant to American influence or understanding as Iran. The United States and Iran have long eyed each other with suspicion, and the fragile relationship makes it difficult to get a a sense of what is actually happening inside Iran and why it matters. With a new Iranian president making incendiary pronouncements and pressing for nuclear developments, it is more important that ever to foster a better understanding of the foreign nation.
In Hidden Iran, Takeyh reveals how the underappreciated domestic political rivalries within Iran serve to explain the country's behavior on the world stage. He also shows why this country has so often confounded American expectations and inspired a long series of misguided U.S. policies that continue to this day. Takeyh seeks to expose the Iran that is hidden beyond what we see on the news or hear about from American politicians. In that country, political factions jockey for power and influence, politicians fall out of favor only to reemerge a few years later, and the hard-liners, the pragmatists, and the reformers tend to counterbalance one another in the government.
Takeyh introduces us to the leading players on all sides and shows how the game of political chess is played in Iran. He explains the Iranian view of the world, which transcends political affiliation, and the prominent role the country seeks to play in the Persian Gulf region, in the wider Muslim world, and in relation to its neighbors in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. He also offers insight into Iran's tumultuous bilateral relations with Iraq, Israel, and the United States, showing how the U.S. invasion of Iraq has actually put Iran in its strongest strategic position since the first days of the revolution.