Flynt Leverett


Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service and Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discuss how easy it is to co-opt mainstream media and spread disinformation to start a war, controlling the narrative to influence who ultimately gets blamed if/when Iran’s tri-party uranium swap deal fails, unresolved internal division in the Obama administration over whether Iran is allowed to enrich uranium at all, dispelling the Qom facility “gotcha” myth and clarifying Iran’s actual obligations under the NPT, why the potential for war with Iran will continue to grow until a settlement on its nuclear program is reached and how the insular work environment of US intelligence analysts contributes to their poor understanding of Iranian society.

MP3 here. (57:18)

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist. His articles appear on Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Inter Press Service News Agency and

Flynt Leverett directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is also a Senior Research Fellow. Additionally, he teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs.

Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Dr. Leverett’s 2006 monograph, Dealing With Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran, presented the seminal argument for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”, an idea that he has developed in multiple articles and Op Eds in The New York Times, The National Interest, POLITICO, Salon, Washington Monthly, and the New America Foundation’s “Big Ideas for a New America” series.

10 thoughts on “Flynt Leverett”

  1. This is a very good discussion, but I think the naivete about Obama is very disturbing and dangerous. We continue to see variations on the theme that Obama really wants peace, but the hawks in his administration are dragging him towards war, or at least towards a more confrontational policy. Not only does this depiction of Obama require ignoring central facts, like the fact that he was the one who chose to load his administration with hardliners and hawks, and that he in fact has been one of the most active contributers to harsh anti-Iran rhetoric that has – in and of itself – put the lie to his occasional, patently insincere attempts to 'reach out', but it also ignores the modus operandi that has become evident by now (and was already evident to those who looked into his past non-delusionally): given any issue, Obama identifies the Power Position; then he postures himself to please his core constituency, progressives; then he positions himself to please the power position.

  2. I hope that was clear. His POSTURES go to his electoral constituency. His POLICIES go to whatever power constituency he identifies as being concerned with a particular issue.

    I don't doubt that there is indeed a debate within the administration between hardliners on Iran and those seeking a more rational and ethical policy, but such debate is for appearance' sake. The political/power establishment (power and money) is deeply committed to regime change, probably war, against Iran. That will dictate what Obama does. Obama doesn't have to actually give his progressive contituency anything, apart from the occasional bone. He just has to keep them hoping. As long as they keep hoping to see the Progressive Champion they imagined they were voting for, they aren't opposing his actual anti-progressive policies, and building movement against him and them.

    Every single article that depicts Obama as fighting the good fight against the hardline crazies (that he put in place) greases the slippery slope to war (and other bad policies).

  3. Part 1 of 4

    Great interview by two honest experts, shedding some revealing light on the complex US-Iranian issues. Too bad such voices of reason are obscured by tremendously powerful trumpets of warmongering neocons.

    It crossed my mind to comment on this broadcast from a different perspective.

    First of all, we know in any complicated crime, only intelligent police inspectors who have developed analytical minds solve the crime by meticulously analyzing the possible roots, causes, players, motivations, circumstances etc while in analogous situations of crime foolish inspectors might seek help from the psychics.

    Similarly for cases of convoluted political issues, rational and analytical minds can resolve the problems only if the other side’s intentions are not deceptive or evil.

  4. 2 of 4

    Deceptive or evil?

    By being analytical we reach the point where we have to know how our brains or minds work and why some are destructively aggressive, ruthless, remorseless and/or power hungry, greedy, zealous, nationalistic, self-righteous, hateful and so on..

    Now we know why, thanks to the advances in the fields of biology, neuroscience, computers etc.

    In simple imprecise terms, scientists now have identified an area in the brain which consists of “inhibitors”. These inhibitors act as “breaks” to stop any specific destructive behavior. For example if we get excessively angry we usually don’t murder the person who infuriated us because as the complex nervous circuitry reaches the “inhibitor of anger” area it gets deflected to other routes. But if for some reason that inhibitor is dysfunctional then “murder” is attempted.

  5. p 3 of 4

    Trauma in childhood might weaken or destroy those inhibitors. In our early years stories of the atrocities of the enemies of our tribe destroys some inhibitors making us insensitive to the pains of our enemies. This is why any such indoctrinated subjects would show total “remorselessness” if their side inflicts immense degree of pain, death or destruction on their enemies.

    All the non-analytical individuals, or those who serve in “Tribal” institutions, in one sense or another are like those military subjects.

    The above is a truly fascinating topic that encompasses anti-war issues. If Scott Horton could find a courageous liberal neuroscientist then he could effectively enlighten us all. The problem is this topic is a touchy subject like “religion” and scientists are reluctant to talk about it bluntly on a radio show.

  6. p4 of 4

    Once again I believe Gareth and Flynt are honest experts, the degree of their honesty can be measured by the volume of dishonest neocon efforts to belittle and discredit them anyway they can.

    …and why neocons are so deceptive and dishonest?

    Just take the case of June 2009 Iranian Election

    Read the 38 page report by Eric A Brill ( ) . He shows “.not a single credible evidence of fraud is ever found”.

    Geobbels the famous Nazi once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. Remember how neocon MSM brainwashed the world about the fraud? Didn’t they know about American TFT poll? I believe they did.

    That is dishonesty….and much worse… is bordering the worst possible crime…….that is why we badly need experts who have analytical minds ….I salute both

  7. in my 4 part comment:

    I noticed some grammatical mistakes…..the reason is English is not my maternal language…..please ignore my mistakes and pay attention to what I’m trying to say

  8. epppie I’m also suspicious….based on the letter he sent to Khalizad in January 2009 (before inauguration)….his Nowruz messages to Iranians in 2009 and 2010 and about a dozen other documents….Chomsky also thinks he is put in WH by Wall Street…and so on.

    Why you don’t give us the details, the documents?….that way everyone would firmly agree with your argument.

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