United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

About the Authors

Geneive Abdo is director of the Iran Program at The Century Foundation, a Washington and New York-based think tank. Her research focuses on contemporary Iran and political Islam. She is the creator and editor of www.insideIRAN.org and was liaison officer for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations. Among her three books is, “Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First Century Iran.” She is a former USIP grantee.

Michael Adler is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, on sabbatical from Agence France-Presse news agency. From 2002-2007, he covered the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. He also did reporting in Tehran, Geneva, Brussels, Berlin, New York, Tripoli and elsewhere on the Iran’s nuclear issue. He is a former USIP grantee working on a study of diplomacy, the Iranian nuclear issue and the IAEA.

David Albright, a physicist, is president and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. Albright cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team to investigate Iraq's covert nuclear program from 1992 until 1997, and was the first non-governmental inspector of the Iraqi nuclear program in 1996. The author of many assessments on secret nuclear weapons programs world-wide, he is a former USIP grantee.
 

Ali Alfoneh is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is currently writing a book on civil-military relations in Iran. One of his most recent pieces is "The Revolutionary Guards' Looting of Iran's Economy."

Shaul Bakhash is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University. He is the author of “The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution” (1990).His articles on Iran have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. He is a former Woodrow Wilson Center scholar.

Henri J. Barkey is a professor of international relations at Lehigh University and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He formerly served on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff. His most recent publication is "Turkey's Moment of Inflection" in Survival (June-July 2010). He is a former Woodrow Wilson Center scholar and a former USIP grantee.

Mehrzad Boroujerdi is associate professor of political science and director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Syracuse University. He is the author of “Tarashidam, Parastidam, Shikastam: Guftarhay-i dar Siyasat va Huvyiyat-i Irani” (2010). As a USIP grantee, he is engaged in a study of political elite in post-revolutionary Iran and co-manages the Iran Data Portal at http://www.princeton.edu/irandataportal/.  

Rachel Brandenburg is a Middle East program specialist at USIP and coordinator of the USIP Senior Working Group on Middle East Peace. She has travelled extensively in the Middle East, including to Iran. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Israel, and a State Department Critical Language Scholar in Jordan.

Daniel Brumberg is a senior advisor to the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at USIP, where he also served as acting director of USIP's Muslim World Initiative. An associate professor of government at Georgetown University and co-director of its Democracy and Governance Program, he is also author of many articles and books on Islam and politics, including “Reinventing Khomeini: The Struggle for Reform in Iran” (2001).

Shahram Chubin is a Geneva-based specialist on Iranian politics and a non-resident senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is, “Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions” (2006). He is a former Woodrow Wilson Center scholar and received a USIP grant for a study of conflict and cooperation in the Persian Gulf.

Patrick Clawson is deputy director of research at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs the Iran Security Initiative. He is the co-author of, “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos,” and is a former USIP grantee.

Juan Cole is professor of history at the University of Michigan and runs the Informed Comment weblog. He has authored many books on the Middle East. His latest is “Engaging the Muslim World” (2010).

Michael Connell is a member of the research staff at the Center for Naval Analyses, where he is director of the Iranian Studies Program. He has authored several studies that focus on political, military, and security issues related to Iran and the other Persian Gulf countries. He is a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is a national security analyst for ABC News. He is a recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal. At CSIS, Cordesman is director of the Gulf Net Assessment Project, the Gulf in Transition study, and principle investigator of the Homeland Defense Project. He also directed the Middle East Net Assessment Project.

Suzanne DiMaggio is director of policy studies at the Asia Society, where she leads the Iran Initiative. From 2002-2007, she directed a U.S.-Iran track II dialogue, while she was vice president of Global Policy Programs at the United Nations Association-USA. She received a USIP grant for U.S.-Iran dialogue.

James Dobbins directs the RAND Corp.’s International Security and Defense Policy Center. He served as assistant secretary of state for Europe, special assistant to the president for the Western Hemisphere, special adviser to the president and secretary of state for the Balkans, and ambassador to the European Community. He was the Clinton administration’s special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, and the Bush administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan. He represented the United States at the 2001 Bonn Conference.
 

Michael Eisenstadt is senior fellow and director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. A specialist in Persian Gulf and Arab-Israeli security affairs, he is also a former Middle East Foreign Area Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Michael Elleman is a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the principle author of the IISS Strategic Dossier, “Iran's Ballistic Missile Capabilities: a net assessment.” He spent 18 months at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission as a missile expert for weapons inspection missions in Iraq. Before the United Nations, he spent two decades as a scientist at Lockheed Martin's Research and Development Laboratory. 

Haleh Esfandiari is director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She is the author of, “My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran” (2009), and her articles appear in essay collections, books, journals and national and international press, including blogs. A former journalist in Iran, she also taught Persian at Oxford University and Princeton University.

Farideh Farhi is affiliate graduate faculty and lecturer at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She writes extensively about Iranian domestic politics and nuclear policy. Her publications include, "Constitutionalism and Parliamentary Struggle for Relevance and Independence in Post-Khomeini Iran." Farhi is a Woodrow Wilson Center scholar and received a USIP grant to study evolving political discourse in Iran.

Hadi Ghaemi, a physicist, is an Iran analyst and human rights expert. He is the executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. He formerly worked for Human Rights Watch, where he focused on the repression of civil society in Iran and the plight of migrant workers in Dubai.

Jubin Goodarzi is a professor in the International Relations Program at Webster University Geneva, Switzerland. He is author of "Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East," (2009) and numerous articles on the international relations of the Middle East. He has worked in the past for a number of U.S. and British research institutes and the United Nations.

Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served on the National Security Council during the George H.W. Bush administration and headed the State Department’s Policy Planning staff under the George W. Bush administration. Haass is the author or editor of eleven books on American foreign policy, including, “War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars” (2009). 

Stephen J. Hadley was national security adviser for the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2009. He previously served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the George H.W. Bush administration. He was counsel to the Tower Commission in 1987, as it investigated U.S. arms sales to Iran, and served on the National Security Council under President Ford from 1974 to 1977. He is senior adviser on international affairs at USIP.

Kevan Harris is a sociologist and Associate Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University.

Steven Heydemann is vice-president of USIP's Grant and Fellowship Program, and a specialist on the comparative politics and political economy of the Middle East. He is the author or editor of several books and numerous other publications on the Middle East, focusing on authoritarian governance, state formation and state-market relations.  

Emile Hokayem is the senior fellow for regional security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based in Bahrain. Previously, he was the political editor of The National, the Abu Dhabi-based English-language newspaper. A native of Lebanon, he is a specialist in security affairs in the Levant and the Gulf.

Mark N. Katz is professor of government and politics at George Mason University and a senior fellow at the Middle East Policy Council in Washington in the fall of 2010. He has written numerous articles on Russian-Iranian relations, including, "Russian-Iranian Relations in the Obama Era," Middle East Policy (2010). He is a former Woodrow Wilson Center scholar and received a USIP grant for a study of Islamic revolutions

Geoffrey Kemp is director of Regional Strategic Programs at the Nixon Center. During the Reagan administration’s first term, he was special assistant to the president for national security affairs, and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council Staff. His most recent book is, “The East Moves West: India, China, and Asia’s Growing Presence in the Middle East” (2010). He is a former USIP grantee.

Mehdi Khalaji, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, studied Shiite theology in the Qom seminary of Iran. He is the author of “Last Marja, Sistani and the End of Traditional Religious Authority in Shiism, and“Apocalyptic Politics: On the Rationality of Iranian Policy.”His forthcoming book is, “The Political Biography of Ali Khamenei, Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Ellen Laipson is president and CEO of the Stimson Center. In her 25-year government career, she worked on Iran and other Middle East issues on the National Security Council, the National Intelligence Council, and at the Congressional Research Service. Her last position in government was vice chairman of the NIC from 1997 to 2002. She is on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and is a former USIP grantee.

Matthew Levitt is director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is a former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of the Treasury and a former counterterrorism intelligence analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
 

John Limbert is a former deputy assistant secretary for Iran in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He is the distinguished professor of international affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy. With funding from USIP, he is the author of, “Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History” (2009). He was among the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days.

Suzanne Maloney is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. She is the author of, “Iran’s Long Reach: Iran as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World,” (2008) and a forthcoming book on Iran’s political economy since the revolution. She has previously worked for the U.S. government and in the private sector, and currently serves as an external advisor to the U.S. Department of State on long-range issues related to Iran.

Omid Memarian currently writes for IPS News Agency, the Daily Beast and the Huffington Post. He teaches journalism at the International Center for Journalists. He received the Human Rights Defender Award in 2005, the Human Rights Watch's highest honor. He has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
 

Abbas Milani is the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, where he is also a co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Hoover Institution. His last book is, “The Myth of the Great Satan” (2010). His biography of the shah is scheduled to be published in 2011.

Mohsen Milani is chairman of the Department of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida. He has served as a research fellow at Harvard University, Oxford University's St. Antony's College and the Foscari University in Venice, Italy. Milani authored, “The Making of Iran's Islamic Revolution: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic” (1994).

Fareed Mohamedi is a partner at PFC Energy, a Washington-based consultancy specializing in the oil and gas industry. He manages PFC Energy's oil market analysis and country risk practice.

Afshin Molavi is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has worked as a Dubai-based correspondent for Reuters news agency, a Riyadh-based correspondent for The Arab News of Saudi Arabia, and a Tehran-based correspondent for The Washington Post. He is the author of the "Soul of Iran: A Nation’s Journey to Freedom" (2005).

Alireza Nader is an international policy analyst at the RAND Corp. His research has focused on Iran's political dynamics, elite decision-making, and Iranian foreign policy. His current research focuses on the 2009 Iranian presidential election and the role of the supreme leader in Iran.

Tara Nesvaderani is a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Semira N. Nikou works for the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U. S. Institute of Peace. She lived in and still travels to Iran. She was in Iran for the 2009 election and aftermath.

John S. Park is a senior research associate and director of Northeast Asia projects at USIP’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. He is also co-director of the USIP Financial Sanctions Study Group.

Kenneth M. Pollack is director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of a half dozen books on the Middle East including “The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America,” and “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran.”

Walter Posch is a senior research fellow working on Iranian domestic, foreign and security policy at the German International and Foreign Policy Institute in Berlin. He previously worked at the European Union's Institute for Security Studies in Paris and at the National Defense Academy in Vienna. His most recent paper on the opposition movement in Iran is entitled: "A Last Chance for Iran's Reformists? The ‘Green Struggle’ Reconsidered."

Kourosh Rahimkhani is an independent scholar specializing in Iranian affairs. He worked as a journalist for a number of reformist newspapers in Iran before moving to the United States.

Bruce O. Riedel is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served in the CIA for almost 30 years and has advised four presidents on Iran. He published "If Israel Attacks" in The National Interest in September 2010 about the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. He is also author of “In Search of al Qaeda” (2009).

Karim Sadjadpour is an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He spent four years as the chief Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, based in Washington and Tehran. He is a regular contributor to BBC TV and radio, CNN, National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour as well as publications such as the Economist, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, and Foreign Policy.

Gary Sick is adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University. He is executive director of Gulf/2000, an international online research project on political, economic and security developments in the Persian Gulf. He served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan and was the principal aide for Iran during the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis. A former captain in the U.S. Navy, he wrote two books on U.S.-Iran relations.
 

Steven Simon is adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University, and senior advisor at Good Harbor Consulting, LLC. He is coauthor of “The Sixth Crisis: America, Israel, Iran and the Rumors of War “(2010). He served at the State Department, the National Security Council, the RAND Corp. and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Jason Starr is a former research assistant at USIP. He is currently a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. Any views expressed herein are the author’s own and not necessarily those of the Department of State or the U.S. government.

Andrea Stricker is a research analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). Stricker writes ISIS's country-specific and regional proliferation assessments and develops policy recommendations for U.S. and international nonproliferation efforts.
 
Robin Wright, a former Washington Post diplomatic correspondent, is a joint fellow at USIP and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has covered Iran since 1973 and is the author of five books on Iran or the Middle East, including “Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East” (2008). She won the National Magazine Award for her coverage of Iran in The New Yorker and the U.N. Correspondents Gold Medal for international coverage.
 

Dov S. Zakheim is vice chairman of the Foreign policy Research Institute and a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer (2001-2004). He has published numerous articles on Middle Eastern security issues.

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