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Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies

Expertise

Iran; Persian Gulf and U.S. foreign policy.

Bio

Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His areas of specialization are Iran, political reform in the Middle East, and Islamist movements and parties.

Prior to joining CFR, Takeyh was senior advisor on Iran at the Department of State. He was previously a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Takeyh is the coauthor of The Pragmatic Superpower: Winning the Cold War in the Middle East (W. W. Norton, 2016) and is the author of three previous books, Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs (Oxford University Press, 2009), Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Henry Holt, 2006), and The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The US, Britain and Nasser's Egypt, 19531957 (St. Martin's Press, 2000). He has also written more than 250 articles and opinion pieces in many news outlets including Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

Takeyh has testified more than twenty times in various congressional committees and has appeared on PBS Newshour, Charlie Rose, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, BBC, FOX, and CSPAN.

Takeyh has a doctorate in modern history from Oxford University.

Languages:

Persian (fluent); Arabic (working knowledge)

Featured Publications

Book

The Pragmatic Superpower

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon

In The Pragmatic Superpower, Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. Cutting against conventional wisdom, the authors argue that, when an inexperienced Washington entered the turbulent world of Middle Eastern politics, it succeeded through hardheaded pragmatism—and secured its place as a global superpower.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Book

Guardians of the Revolution

Author: Ray Takeyh

For over a quarter-century, Iran has been one of America's chief nemeses. But as Ray Takeyh shows in this accessible and authoritative history of Iran's relations with the world since the revolution, behind the famous personalities and extremist slogans is a nation that is far more pragmatic—and complex—than many in the West have been led to believe.

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy

All Publications

Op-Ed

Iran’s Holocaust Denial Is Part of a Malevolent Strategy

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht
Washington Post

The Islamic Republic of Iran held another Holocaust cartoon festival this month, inviting the usual despicable cast of characters. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifassured the New Yorker that although the event would proceed, Iran would ensure that the “people who have preached racial hatred and violence will not be invited.” Evidently, Zarif believes there are Holocaust deniers who do not harbor “racial hatred.”

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy

Book

The Pragmatic Superpower

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon

In The Pragmatic Superpower, Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. Cutting against conventional wisdom, the authors argue that, when an inexperienced Washington entered the turbulent world of Middle Eastern politics, it succeeded through hardheaded pragmatism—and secured its place as a global superpower.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Propitiating Iran

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht
Weekly Standard

The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.

 

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Foreign Affairs Article

Iran's ISIS Trap

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht

The Islamic Republic of Iran has no real intention to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with coauthor Reuel Marc Gerecht. The Islamic State’s exacerbation of sectarian divisions is advantageous to Iran as it continues to manipulate Sunni-Shiite relations to extend its power and help its allies.

See more in Iran; Terrorist Organizations and Networks

Op-Ed

What’s Missing From Deal Supporters’ Talk of Restraining Iran? Specifics.

Author: Ray Takeyh
Wall Street Journal

A curious defense of the Iran deal is emerging. Some Democrats say that if the agreement is implemented, they will resist nefarious Iranian policies, domestic abuses, human rights repression, and sponsorship of terrorism. In a speech Wednesday, Hillary Clinton pledged that as president, “I will raise the costs for their actions and confront them across the board.”

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements

Press/Panels

Video Interview

Charlie Rose: Analyzing Netanyahu's Speech

CFR's Ray Takeyh joins the Brooking Institute's Tamar Cofman Wittes on Charlie Rose to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.

Watch

Radio Interview

NPR: Tensions With Iran, Center Stage at the UN

Neal Conan of Talk of the Nation interviews Ray Takeyh about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech before the sixty-seventh United Nations General Assembly.