The Islamic Republic of Iran's ongoing nuclear programme has
provoked a major and menacing crisis in its relations with the US
and other Western powers. Ali Ansari, a Briton of Iranian origin,
argues that the crisis is a symptom of broader, long-term fissures
in US-Iranian relations, and in Confronting Iran he seeks to
disentangle the myths that are at the bottom of this gulf in
understanding which is compounded by the nature of the two states,
their foreign policy establishments and the fraught history of
their relations since the 1979 revolution. Ansari reviews the
historical antecedents of the crisis, in particular US-Iranian
relations since 9/11 and attempts by the EU to broker a settlement
acceptable to all parties. He argues that the European position has
been dictated as much by its relations with the US in the wake of
the invasion of Iraq as by domestic politics in Iran, and he
concludes by assessing the election of Mahmud Ahmadinejad as
President and its likely impact on the view from Tehran and
Washington. This account of a potential flashpoint in relations
between the Muslim world and the West could not be more timely.
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