The secret negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear deal

Trita Parsi's new book "Losing An Enemy" is the most detailed examination of the nuclear deal so far written
August 16, 2017

Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy

by Trita Parsi (Yale University Press, £20)

The nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 (the five security council powers and Germany) over Tehran’s nuclear programme was finally implemented on 16th January 2016. It remains one of the most important—and controversial—geopolitical treaties of the century.

In Losing An Enemy, an important and fascinating book, Trita Parsi sets out to analyse “the roots of the rivalry among the United States, Israel, and Iran,” before detailing the secret negotiations that eventually lead to the deal.

Parsi is the president of the National Iranian American Council and a not entirely impartial observer. He has a tendency to attribute fault to US and Israeli “hardliners” (admittedly not blameless) rather than Iran. The book’s strength is its access. Parsi speaks to Secretary of State John Kerry, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Mohammad Nahavandian, President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, are all vital sources.

The result is the most detailed examination of the nuclear deal so far written. Parsi argues, correctly, that the US might not have gained a friend in Iran (it has not), but it may have lost an enemy. How long it will last under a Donald Trump administration, however, remains to be seen.