Ray Takeyh, PhD (born 1966), is an Iranian-American Middle East scholar, former United States Department of State official and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Takeyh is Assyrian. He is also a contributing editor of The National Interest.
Born in Tehran, Takeyh obtained his doctorate from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, in 1997. Prior to joining the Council, he was a fellow in international security studies at Yale University, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a professor at the National War College, and a professor and director of studies at the Near East and South Asia center at the National Defense University.
Takeyh has written extensively on Iran and on U.S. policy toward the Middle East. He has testified several times before various committees of the US Senate and has appeared as an Iran expert on a variety of television programs, including the PBS Newshour. Takeyh was also an early critic of the view that democracy promotion in the Middle East would serve U.S. security interests.
In his writings and public appearances, Takeyh has tended to be skeptical about the efficacy of current U.S. efforts to deal with Iran and its nuclear program. He has characterized the regime in Tehran as an opportunistic power that is seeking to expand its influence in the region rather than as an apocalyptic threat to the world. He advocates a U.S. policy approach that would alter Iran’s foreign policy calculus rather than on trying to pursue regime change. He is usually seen as one of the main voices in the U.S. calling for diplomatic engagement with Iran rather than continued isolation and does not believe, in the aftermath of the Iraq war, that containment of Iran is possible given changed circumstances in the Middle East. In conjunction with Vali Nasr, he published a major essay in the January/February 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, laying out these views.
In 2009 Takeyh served as an aide to Dennis Ross in the Barack Obama Administration focusing on Iran policy. When Ross moved from the State Department to the National Security Council staff Takeyh returned to the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Ray Takeyh, Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs (Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0-19-532784-7
- Ray Takeyh, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2006). ISBN 0805079769
- Ray Takeyh, Nikolas Gvosdev, The Receding Shadow of the Prophet: The Rise and Fall of Radical Political Islam (Praeger Publishers, 2004). ISBN 0-275-97628-9
- The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The United States, Britain and Nasser’s Egypt, 1953-1957 (Macmillan Press, 2000)