Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to the U.N., has written a forceful and thoroughly documented warning about revolutionary Iran's ambitions. His main themes are that the West has repeatedly underestimated the Islamic Republic's hostility and has been misled by the systematic use of deception by Iran's leaders and diplomats.
A strength of his account is in the detail provided about episodes in the unfolding Iran-U.S. drama, which at the time seemed murky but can now be seen in a much clearer light. Gold demonstrates that whether in the case of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy, the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers U.S. Air Force barracks, or more recent insurgent killings of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, Iran's leaders at the highest level have had a more direct and shaping role than they have acknowledged. He also makes a strong case that Western restraint in the face of Iranian provocation has repeatedly led to further Iranian adventurism. Unfortunately, the account is weakened at several points by an overreliance on the work of Amir Taheri, a writer who combines considerable insights into the region with occasional, and frustratingly unverifiable, claims as well as misleading and unsubstantiated sources.
Gold gives little weight to business interests as an explanation for tolerance of Iranian misdeeds. He refers in passing to reformers who may have been open to a modus vivendi with the West, only to say that they have been decisively defeated. His final chapter suggests strongly that the best hope for resolving revolutionary Iran's disputes with the West is to end the revolution, that is, through victory by the democratic opposition that has so rattled Iran's leaders since the June 2009 presidential election. Gold's only reference to the possible role of military force to delay Iran's nuclear ambitions is that "the United States and its allies must keep the military option on the table in order to persuade Iran to change its policies."
While no Iran expert, Gold has assembled an impressive amount of information and displays good judgement about how the Islamic Republic's revolutionary ideology has affected its actions on the world scene.