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Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies

Expertise

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

Programs

Middle East Program

Featured Publications

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 Nuclear Diversion

Author: Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

Ray Takeyh writes that the Iranian administration is diverting attention to its nuclear program as a way to avoid scrutiny of its attempts to squash democratic dissent within Iran.

See more in Iran; Proliferation

Op-Ed

Beware of Iranians Bearing Talks

Author: Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

Ray Takeyh writes "for the Obama administration, which has made engaging with adversarial states a principle of its foreign policy, one of the biggest challenges will not be a belligerent Iran, but a disingenuous one."

See more in Proliferation; Iran

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

Book

Restoring the Balance

Authors: Richard N. Haass, Stephen D. Biddle, Ray Takeyh, Gary Samore, Steven A. Cook, Isobel Coleman, Steven Simon, Martin S. Indyk, Michael O’Hanlon, Kenneth M. Pollack, Suzanne Maloney, Bruce O. Riedel, Shibley Telhami, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Daniel L. Byman

Experts from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution propose a new, nonpartisan Middle East strategy drawing on the lessons of past failures to address both the short- and long-term challenges to U.S. interests.

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

Op-Ed

America's Next Steps

Authors: Richard Clarke, Steven Simon, and Ray Takeyh
International Herald Tribune

The events of the past eight years have brought the Middle East to a precipice, write Richard Clarke, Steve Simon, and Ray Takeyh. To deal with this situation, America will need a president of intellectual independence, strategic flexibility and considerable political imagination.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

It's Also Called Diplomacy

Authors: Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh
International Herald Tribune

President Bush’s recent denunciation of Barack Obama’s foreign policy was wrong, argue Charles Kupchan and Ray Takeyh. Instead, they defend the Senator’s policies as being “hard-headed realism,” pointing to the historical record as evidence that engaging international rivals is a proven method of resolving conflicts.

See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Op-Ed

Iran's Orchestrated Elections

Author: Ray Takeyh
International Herald Tribune

Ray Takeyh states that, “Whatever the composition of the new Parliament, and whoever succeeds the office of the presidency next year, Iran has entered the age when a single mullah dominates all institutions and arbitrates all debates.”

See more in Elections; Nation Building; Iran

Current Projects

Past Projects

Symposium on Iran and Policy Options for the Next Administration

Staff: Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
September 5, 2008—8:30 am to 1:30 pm

On September 5, 2008, the Council on Foreign Relations convened some of the country's top experts on Iran. Over the course of three sessions, the symposium sought to understand Iran as a global player and identify policy options for the next U.S. administration.

This symposium was made possible through the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Roundtable on the U.S. and Middle East

Director: Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
February 1, 2007—Present

The United States is faced with an array of serious challenges in the Middle East, perhaps unprecedented in the past fifty years. An attempt to provoke a revolutionary change in the Middle East has collapsed with a large U.S. land army lodged in the heart of the region. The United States now confronts a Middle East that features an imploding Iraqi state, an aggressive Islamic Republic about to cross the nuclear threshold and a Palestinian state broken into two failed entities.

The Roundtable on the U.S. and Middle East will seek to develop strategies for the next administration. Should the United States attempt to recoup its position by pressing forward, albeit more prudently and with international cooperation, or should the United States go "back to the future," and place "stability over freedom," to use President Bush's phrase? Is it time to create an alliance with Sunnis to stave off the immediate threat of Iranian encroachment? What should the United States' grand strategy be in the Middle East? These and other questions will be the focus of monthly discussions.

CFR Events

General Meeting ⁄ New York

NY Town Hall: Middle East Update

Panelists:

Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations, Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Robert M. Danin, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
July 22, 2014 12:15-12:45 p.m. - Lunch
12:45-2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Academic Conference Call

Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Speakers:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
April 7, 2010

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

Academic Conference Call

The Costs of Containing Iran

Speaker:

Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, "The Costs of Containing Iran," Foreign Affairs, January/February 2008

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
January 17, 2008

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Hidden Iran

Speaker:

Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and author, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic

Presider:

Gary G. Sick, Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
November 7, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting

Axis of Anxiety: U.S. Options on Iran

Speakers:

Kenneth M. Pollack, Senior Fellow and Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, "Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic"

Presider:

Barbara Slavin, Senior Diplomatic Reporter, USA Today
November 1, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Symposium ⁄ New York

The Emerging Shia Crescent Symposium: Is Shia Power Cause for Concern?

Speakers:

Steven A. Cook, Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Toby C. Jones, Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow in Middle East History, Swarthmore College, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow, Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Ethan S. Bronner, Deputy Foreign Editor, The New York Times
June 5, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

Speakers:

Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Press/Panels

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.

Bio

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

Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Takeyh was Senior Advisor on Iran at the Department of State. He was previously a fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy and has taught at National War College, Yale University, and University of California, Berkeley.

Takeyh is the author of The Guardians of the Revolution: Iran's Approach to the World (Oxford University Press, 2009). He is also the author of two previous books, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Henry Holt, 2006) and The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The U.S., Britain and Nasser's Egypt, 1953-1957 (St. Martin's Press, 2000). Dr. Takeyh has published widely, including articles in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest, Survival, World Policy Journal, Washington Quarterly, Orbis, Middle East Journal and Middle East Policy. His commentary has also been featured in many newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times and International Herald Tribune.

Takeyh has testified frequently in front various congressional committees and has appeared on PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, BBC, FOX and CSPAN.

Dr. Takeyh has a doctorate in modern history from Oxford University.

Languages:

Persian (fluent); Arabic (working knowledge)