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Published on Apr 12, 2010
Improving relations between Iran and Israel is the key to achieving lasting peace in the Middle East, says the winner of the 2010 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Trita Parsi, co-founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, earned the prize for ideas set forth in his 2007 book, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S. He received the award from among 54 nominations worldwide. The rivalry between Iran and Israel is driven more by a quest for regional power rather than by conflicting beliefs, Parsi says. Instead of trying to isolate Iran from the rest of the world, the United States should rehabilitate Iran into the Middle Easts economic and political order in return for Iran making significant changes in its behavior, including ending its hostilities against Israel. Most efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East focus on the clash between Israel and the Palestinians, said Rodger Payne, a UofL political science professor who directs the award. Parsi says the best way to stabilize the region is for the U.S. to act in a more balanced way toward Iran and Israel, which would de-escalate the geopolitical and nuclear rivalry between the two. Parsi, who was born in Iran, holds a doctorate of philosophy degree from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He interviewed more than 130 senior Israeli, Iranian and U.S. decision-makers before writing Treacherous Alliance, which also won a Council on Foreign Relations award last year for most significant foreign policy book.