cover image Targeting Iran

Targeting Iran

David Barsamian. City Lights Books, $11.95 (206pp) ISBN 978-0-87286-458-0

Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio and coauthor of Imperial Delusions, has produced a highly informative book that examines the U.S.-Iran standoff through interviews with Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian and Nahid Mozaffari. Topics of discussion range from the U.S.-backed 1953 coup to poetry in the years after the Islamic revolution, but the exposition of why Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks Iran has the upper hand and the prospects for and likely consequences of a U.S. military strike in Iran are some of the most powerful portions of the book. ""Both sides are playing brinksmanship,"" claims Abrahamian. One of the central conclusions is that the U.S. and Iran are teetering precipitously on the edge of another war that neither side can afford to participate in. In Barsamian's (and his interviewees') view, the best hope for a bloodless conclusion to the current standoff is for the US to approach Iran without demanding it submit to American demands before they even reach the bargaining table. This slim book is heavy with historical and cultural background that doesn't often find its way into news accounts; it's a great primer on a simmering conflict.