Ray Takeyh

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies


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


Iran Roundtable Series


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.


Persian (fluent); Arabic (working knowledge)

Featured Publications


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

Ask CFR Experts

What should U.S. policy toward Iran be in order to prevent further development of its nuclear program?

Asked by Aaron Marks, from Staten Island, New York

Since the discovery of illicit Iranian nuclear facilities in 2002, the United States has sought to mobilize an international coalition to address the Iranian nuclear challenge through various coercions and incentives. UN member states agree that Iran is entitled to a civilian nuclear program for purposes of energy generation, but they require assurances that such a program is not going to be misused for military purposes.

Read full answer

See more in Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Iran


CFR Events

Assessing Netanyahu's Speech

This meeting is on the record.

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NY Town Hall: Middle East Update

This meeting is on the record.


Deterring a Nuclear Iran

This meeting is not for attribution.


The Costs of Containing Iran

This meeting is not for attribution.


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

This meeting is not for attribution.


Hidden Iran

This meeting is on the record.


Axis of Anxiety: U.S. Options on Iran

This meeting is on the record.

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

This meeting is on the record.

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Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

This meeting is on the record.

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Iran and Nuclear Proliferation

This meeting is not for attribution.


Transition 2005: U.S. Policy Toward Iran

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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.


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.