Middle East experts to discuss Iran and U.S. policy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In partnership with the Penn State School of International Affairs, the Center for Global Studies will sponsor a discussion with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, authors of "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran," from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in 22 Deike Building. The discussion, titled "Iran: What has Washington Been Thinking?" is free and open to the public.

 "Americans need to understand that anotherU.S.-initiated war in the Middle East, to disarm yet another Muslim country of weapons of mass destruction it doesn't have would be a disaster for America's strategic position,” said Flynt Leverett. “It would make the damage done by America's strategically failed invasion and occupation of Iraq look mild by comparison. Americans also need to understand that, for its own interest, the United States needs to come to terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran -- to accept it as an enduring political order representing legitimate national interests -- much like President Nixon revolutionized American foreign policy in the early 1970s by realigning relations with China."

In their book "Going to Tehran," the Leveretts offer a new approach to understanding the relationship between the United States and Iran. They argue that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a powerful, rational actor in the Middle East and has used its nuclear weapons program as a way to force Washington to treat it as an equal player. Sociology faculty member Sam Richards will moderate the public discussion.

Flynt Leverett is an expert on the Middle East, international political economy and Chinese foreign policy. He is part of the founding faculty for Penn State’s School of International Affairs, a faculty affiliate at the Dickinson School of Law and a visiting scholar at Peking University’s School of International Affairs. Previously, he served as senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, focusing on the Middle East.

Co-author Hillary Mann Leverett is on the faculty of the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C. Previously, she served in U.S. embassies across the Middle East and on the staffs of the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning and the National Security Council. From 2001-03, she was among the U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with Iranian officials about Afghanistan and al-Qaida.

More information is available at http://cgs.psu.edu/events.shtml.

Contacts: 

Cortnie Showers

Administrative Assistant, Center for Global Studies

Last Updated February 21, 2014