The article is a response to a review of their highly praised book, "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran," by historian and author Abbas Milani called, "The American Voices of the Islamist Regime in Iran: Two Former U.S. Officials Make the Case for Accommodation." Milani is a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
The Leveretts are looking at events inside Iran and its Islamic political system very dispassionately so you know you're getting the truth. They don't have an agenda for war, unlike most commentators, analysts, and pundits who write about Iran and the hyped-up Iranian nuclear crisis.
I haven't read Milani's books so I don't have an opinion on him, but to call the Leveretts "the American voices of the Islamist Regime" is unfair and inaccurate. It is a lame and futile attack against their integrity, honour, and intellectual independence. The Leveretts are not speaking for the Islamic Republic, but standing up for U.S. interests in the Middle East, which would be greatly damaged in a U.S.-Iran war.
Those who want war between America and Iran do not have the best interests of America and Iran at heart. It is good for the mind and soul to shut them out, and listen to voices who actually care about fixing relations between the two countries.
II. The Leveretts Challenge Abbas Milani To An Epic Debate
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett write in their post, "The Losers’ Narrative: Expatriates with Agendas and America’s Dangerously Distorted Iran Debate—And A Challenge to Abbas Milani":
As you will see, dealing with the issues we raise in our critique of Milani and his work is essential if the United States is ever to have any hope of having a remotely rational and informed debate about how to deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. To this end, we hereby issue a challenge to Mr. Milani to debate us, publicly, on our differences over how to interpret the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy and political history.
Here’s what we have in mind: a ninety-minute debate, held in front of a live audience and videotaped for wider distribution. The location at which the debate would take place as well as the designation of a host/moderator would be negotiated between Mr. Milani and us. Given that there are two of us and one of him, Mr. Milani could choose to have a partner join him in debating us; alternatively, if he preferred to go it alone, we would stipulate in advance that he would have as much time to speak as the two of us combined.
In terms of substance, the debate would be divided into three thirty-minute segments, each dealing with one of the following questions:
–Is the Islamic Republic the legitimate product of the Iranian Revolution?
–Is the Islamic Republic today a legitimate political order?
–Can and should the United States pursue better relations with the Islamic Republic as it is presently constituted?
In each 30-minutes segment, each side would speak for 10 minutes apiece. Then, each side would question the other for 5 minutes apiece.
We hope that Mr. Milani will take up our challenge.