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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. 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, 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, University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University.

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, 19531957 (St. Martin's Press, 2000). 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, Wall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, Financial Times, and International Herald Tribune.

Takeyh has testified frequently in front 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

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

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

Article

Doubling Down on Iran

Authors: Kenneth M. Pollack and Ray Takeyh
The Washington Quarterly

Kenneth M. Pollack and Ray Takeyh state, ""... it is time to appreciate that the only manner of inducing meaningful change in the Islamic Republic's behavior without the resort to war is to otherwise imperil its very existence."

See more in Proliferation; United States; Iran

Events

CFR Events

Media Conference Call

Assessing Netanyahu's Speech

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

NY Town Hall: Middle East Update

This meeting is on the record.

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Academic Conference Call

Deterring a Nuclear Iran

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Academic Conference Call

The Costs of Containing Iran

This meeting is not for attribution.

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General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Mixed Messages and Missed Opportunities: U.S.-Iranian Relations

This meeting is not for attribution.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

Hidden Iran

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting

Axis of Anxiety: U.S. Options on Iran

This meeting is on the record.

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Symposium ⁄ New York

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

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

This meeting is on the record.

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Press Briefing ⁄ New York

Iran and Nuclear Proliferation

This meeting is not for attribution.

Read

General Meeting

Transition 2005: U.S. Policy Toward Iran

This meeting is not for attribution.

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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.