A few weeks ago, Dennis Ross who is Obama’s point man on Iran was promoted from the State Department to the National Security Council. He was moved to the White House to better coordinate administration's outreach to Iran and the inter-agency policy on the Persian Gulf region.
It was largely expected that Ross would bring his four advisors from the State Department to the White House. This included Ray Takehy, an Iran expert with clear penchant for friendly attitude toward the Iranian regime. Today, Laura Rozen from the Cable reports that Takeyh is expected to return to the Council on Foreign Relations, where he was a senior fellow before joining Ross's team.
Ross’s promotion and Takeyh’s eviction could be a sign that the political mood toward Iran is changing the momentum and prospects for friendly approaches with tha Mullahs are rapidly fainting. To better understand this change of mood, we should review how difficult was the nomination of Ross in the first place and we should also remember Takeyh’s attitude toward Iran.
In early 2009, some powerful circles (that rather engage Iran at any time, under any circumstances and at any price) launched a campaign to discredit Ross and make it hard for Obama to nominate him as the Iran envoy. Under pressure, Obama was forced to send Ross to the foggy bottom of State Department with a job title that was miles away from the initial designation of “Iran envoy”.
Then, Ross brought Ray Takeyh to his team, an Iran Expert whose specialty is to prove that at any given time, there are “moderates, pragmatists or realists” among Iranian leaders who want to reach an agreement with the US. All the US have to do is to be more generous and open mined toward the Mullahs.
Takeyh until early 2000s was an ardent opponent of engagement with Iran but surprisingly became a strong advocate of rapprochement policy. As a leading figure of the pro-engagement circles in the US, Takeyh has systematically and with no accountability distorted the reality of the Iranian political situation, selectively changed the facts and fabricated new ones.
With Ross’s promotion and Takeyh’s return to CFR, the Iranian community could express a sigh of relief. This is also a right step toward protecting US national security.