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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

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

Testimony

Sanctions: Strategy, Implementation and Enforcement

Author: Ray Takeyh

In his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Ray Takeyh discusses the conflicting priorities of Iran's Supreme Leader. Khamenei needs America as an enemy and a robust nuclear infrastructure to legitimize his rule. Yet, these enmities only further erode his economy and potentially threaten his hold on power.

See more in Iran; Sanctions

Events

CFR Events

Assessing Netanyahu's Speech

Speakers: 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: Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs
March 3, 2015 2:30–3:30 p.m. ()

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

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

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

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

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

Speakers: Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution, Barbara Slavin, Author, "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation;" Senior Fellow, Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program, United States Institute of Peace
Presider: Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
October 31, 2007 12:00–12:30 p.m. () - Reception
12:30–1:30 p.m. () - Meeting

This meeting is not for attribution.

Read

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

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.

Read Listen

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.

Read ListenWatch

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.

Read Listen

Iran and Nuclear Proliferation

Speakers: Charles D. Ferguson, Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
September 13, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

Read

Transition 2005: U.S. Policy Toward Iran

Speakers: David Kay, Senior Research Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Mark Palmer, President & CEO, Capital Development Company; Member, Committee on the Present Danger, Kenneth M. Pollack, Senior Fellow and Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution; author, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
Presider: Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
January 12, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

Read

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.