image

Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies

Expertise

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

Programs

Iran Roundtable Series

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

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

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

Foreign Affairs Article

Coupdunnit

Authors: Christopher de Bellaigue and Ray Takeyh

For as long as the shah of Iran occupied the Peacock Throne, his relations with the United States depended on a mutually accepted falsehood. Neither side stood to gain from acknowledging that Washington’s favorite dictator owed his position to American skullduggery. 

See more in Iran; Regime Changes

Foreign Affairs Article

What Really Happened in Iran

Author: Ray Takeyh

Back in 2009, during his heavily promoted Cairo speech on American relations with the Muslim world, U.S. President Barack Obama noted, in passing, that "in the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government."

See more in Iran; Regime Changes

Foreign Affairs Article

The Costs of Containing Iran

Authors: Vali R. Nasr and Ray Takeyh

The Bush administration wants to contain Iran by rallying the support of Sunni Arab states and now sees Iran's containment as the heart of its Middle East policy: a way to stabilize Iraq, declaw Hezbollah, and restart the Arab-Israeli peace process. But the strategy is unsound and impractical, and it will probably further destabilize an already volatile region.

See more in Iran; Conflict Prevention

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

Article

How Iran Can Game the Deal

Author: Ray Takeyh
Politico Magazine

The numerous concessions to Iran in the framework agreement means that the Islamic Republic should be able to manufacture bombs on short notice after the sunset clause expires, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Nevertheless, the Iran deal is not beyond repair and the United States needs to address the deficiencies of the accord in the coming months to close all remaining holes.

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

All the Ayatollah's Men

Author: Ray Takeyh
The National Interest

Ray Takeyh argues that, even two decades after his death, the legacy of Aya­tollah Ruhollah Khomeini still permeates policymaking in Iran—and often in ways Western observers are unable to understand.

See more in Iran

Events

CFR Events

Conference Call ⁄ New York

Media Call: Tensions Between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Speakers Philip H. Gordon

Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

, Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations


Presider Anya Schmemann

Washington Director, Global Communications and Media Relations, Council on Foreign Relations

January 6, 2016 9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

January 6, 2016

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Meeting ⁄ New York

Deadline for the Deal: Opportunities and Pitfalls for U.S.-Iran Relations

Speakers Philip H. Gordon

Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region

, Olli Heinonen

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School; Former Deputy Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency

, Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations


Presider Gary Rosen

Editor, Weekend Review, Wall Street Journal

June 19, 2015 12:30–1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00–2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen Watch

Meeting

Iran Update

Speaker Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations


Moderator Irina A. Faskianos

Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations

April 30, 2015 4:00–5:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Meeting

Media Call on Framework Agreement to Limit Iran's Nuclear Program

Speakers Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies

, Michael A. Levi

David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies


Presider David E. Sanger

National Security Correspondent, New York Times

April 3, 2015 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

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

Meeting

Iran: Influence, Islam, and Uncertainty

Speaker Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations


Moderator Irina A. Faskianos

Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations

September 12, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

Meeting ⁄ New York

Hidden Iran

Speaker Ray TakeyhSenior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and author, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic
Presider Gary G. SickSenior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
November 7, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Meeting

Axis of Anxiety: U.S. Options on Iran

Speakers Kenneth M. PollackSenior Fellow and Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution, Ray TakeyhSenior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, "Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic"
Presider Barbara SlavinSenior Diplomatic Reporter, USA Today
November 1, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Meeting ⁄ New York

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

Speakers Steven A. CookDouglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Toby C. JonesMellon Post Doctoral Fellow in Middle East History, Swarthmore College, Ray TakeyhSenior Fellow, Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Ethan S. BronnerDeputy Foreign Editor, The New York Times
June 5, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Washington

Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

Speakers Charles A. KupchanSenior Fellow and Director for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen SestanovichGeorge F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Ray TakeyhSenior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

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.