SOAS University of London

Centre for Iranian Studies

Centre for Iranian Studies Members

Centre Chair

Ms Narguess Farzad

Administrative Support (SOAS Middle East Institute)

Aki Elborzi

Ms Narguess Farzad
Centre Chair
Narguess Farzad
Persian language and literature. Organiser of SOAS-Cambridge Undergraduate workshops
  • Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4346
  • Email:
  • Room: 440
  • Academic Support Hours: Thursday 1-2pm, Friday 1-2pm

Advisory Committee

Dr Simon O'Meara
Advisory Committee Member
Simon O'Meara

Islamic architecture and urbanism; sociological dimensions of the art and architecture of North Africa, especially Morocco; architectural and visual theory; Islamic studies.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4559
  • Email:
  • Room: 558
  • Academic Support Hours: Term 3: Thursdays, 11:30-1pm


Dr Hassan Hakimian
Emeritus Professor (former Director, LMEI)
Hassan Hakimian

Human Resources; Demography; Trade Policy & Regional Integration; Energy and Natural Resources with reference to the MENA region.

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Orkideh Behrouzan
Behrouzan Orkideh -ob8 -ANT

medical anthropology; anthropology of medicine, psychiatry, science, and technology; STS; mental health, trauma, social ruptures, memory, and subjectivity; refugees and displacement; Iran; the Middle East; epidemics and pandemics; COVID19; HIV/AIDS

  • Tel: 4695
  • Email:
  • Room: 589
  • Academic Support Hours: Please see bio for details

Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Professor Anna Contadini
Anna Contadini
Arab and early Persian painting and the arts of the Islamic book in general, including the production of manuscripts of the Qur'an; art and material culture of the Islamic world; Fatimid art and architecture; the arts of Islamic Spain; artistic contacts between the Islamic World and Europe; aspects of contemporary Islamic art.
  • Tel: +44(0) 20 7898 4458
  • Email:
  • Room: 451
  • Academic Support Hours: By email appointment
Dr Heather Elgood, MBE
Hettie Elgood
Dr Heather Elgood is the Course Director of the Diploma in Asian Art. She is a specialist in Persian, Jain, Sultanate and Mughal manuscript painting as well as the ritual arts of Hinduism.

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)

Professor Dan Plesch
Dan Plesch

Applied International Relations, weapons of mass destruction, diplomacy, globalisation and corporate accountability, globalisation and democracy, globalisation and energy, the role of international non-governmental organisations, the United Nations and the Nazis.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4841
  • Email:
  • Room: 4417
  • Academic Support Hours: Mondays 12:00 noon - 2:00pm

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Library and Information Services (LIS)

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Professor Peter Austin
Austin Peter - 240 186 56

Typology, morpho-syntax, language documentation and description, historical linguistics, Lexical-Functional grammar, computer-aided linguistic analysis, Austronesian languages, Australian Aboriginal languages

Near and Middle East Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Dr Nima Mina
Mina Nima - NME IMG 240, 186, 56
Classical and Modern Persian literature, Orientalism in 18th-20th century Europe, Middle Eastern minority writers in Europe, Diaspora studies, music performance, translation studies

Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human security; art, poetry, emotions as languages for global peace; political/social psychology; the global politics of power and resistance; global thought and comparative philosophies; Iran, East-West relations, West Asia and North Africa.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4747
  • Email:
  • Room: 214
  • Academic Support Hours: Thursdays 10am - 12 noon
Dr Seyed Ali Alavi
Seyed Ali Alavi

International Politics, Middle East Politics, Central European and Caucasian Politics, Agricultural Generics and Agro-Policy, Languages

Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies

Professor Almut Hintze
Almut Hintze

Professor Hintze takes an interest in all aspects of Zoroastrianism, the religion of pre-Islamic Iran.

  • Tel: 020 7898 4598
  • Email:
  • Room: 329
  • Academic Support Hours: By email appointment

Dr Sarah Stewart
Sarah Stewart

Lecturer in Zoroastrianism, with particular reference to the living tradition in Iran and India.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4270
  • Email:
  • Room: 331
  • Academic Support Hours: Mondays 14:00-16:00

Associate Members

Dr Lubna Abid Ali
Associate Member
Lubna Abid Ali

Dr Lubna Ali is Professor and Director of the School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. She is UNESCO-Fellow at Middle East Studies Institute, Columbia University, New York, and a Post-doctoral fellow, Islamic Studies, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Her interests include Iran's foreign policy behavior, countering militancy and extremism in the states sharing a trijunctional border in Balochistan province of Pakistan, Iran (Siestan), Aghanistan (Helmand) and Pakistan (Balochistan). She is also the recipient of international peace award (2008) from INSPAD (Institute of Peace and Development) promoting peace and human rights through irfan and Sufism.

Ms Haleh Anvari
Associate Member
Haleh Anvari

Haleh Anvari is an independent artist and writer, her areas of interest include the post revolutionary visual culture and contemporary art of Iran.

Dr Kayhan Barzegar
Associate Member
Kayhan Barzegar

Kayhan Barzegar PhD is Director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies (IMESS) in Tehran. He is also a faculty member and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University. Dr Barzegar was a Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs during 2007-2011 and a Post-doctorate Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) during 2002-2003. He has participated in numerous international conferences on Iran's regional policy, the politics of Iran’s nuclear program, Persian Gulf’s energy security issues, and Iran-US relations. Dr Barzegar is the Editor-in-Chief of Discourse: An Iranian English Quarterly.

Professor Helen Giunashvili
Associate Member
Helen Giunashvili

Helen Giunashvili is a researcher at G. Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies, Ilia State University in Tbilisi and is also affiliated to the Graduate School of the Methodology of the Humanities in Paris. She was educated first at I. Javakhishvili State University, Faculty of Oriental Studies and after, at the St. Petersburg  Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, where she took the postgraduate course and  did her Doctoral thesis on the subject “Personal Verbal Forms in Western Middle Iranian” (1993). Her researches mostly deal with cultural-linguistic interrelations of pre-Islamic Iran and Georgia. She is the author of more over 50 scientific publications.

Research interests: Historical grammar of Western Middle Iranian languages; Iranian-Georgian cultural-linguistic interference: Parthian and Middle Persian lexis in Old Georgian; Structural-typological relation of Middle Persian with Old Georgian; Parthian and Middle Persian onomastics (proper names, ethnical names, geographic terminology) in Old Georgian; Scythian-Alanic onomastics in Kartvelian; Old Aramaic epigraphy of Georgia, linguistic-paleographic analysis; XVI-XVIII cc Persian and Georgian-Persian historical documents, their linguistic characteristics; Persian elements in the language of the Iranian Georgians (Fereidanian dialect).

Dr Jennifer Langer
Jennifer Langer

My research continued my interest in cultural memory through Iranian Jewish literature. The literary production of exiled Iranian Jewish women appears in the anthology I edited: If Salt has Memory (Five Leaves: 2008).

Dr Laetitia Nanquette
Associate Member
Laetitia Nanquette

Contemporary Persian literature, circulation of literature and culture between Iran and the Iranian diasporas, the relations between Iran and the West, Persian literature and globalization.

Professor Lawrence Potter
Associate Member
Lawrence Potter

Deputy Director of the Gulf/2000 Project at Columbia University, New York, a major international research project on long-term trends and policy developments in the Persian Gulf and has organised a number of major conferences and edited five books on the region (October 1994 to present).

Areas of interest include Islamic History, especially Iran, Afghanistan, Central and South Asia & Persian Gulf, medieval and modern; Islamic Religion, especially Sufism; Geography; Numismatics; US Foreign Policy.

Ms Luz Rodriguez
Associate Member
Luz Rodriguez

My passion for art research stems from my genuine interest in understanding the world through history of art, beginning with antiquity, through the middle ages and continuing into contemporary art. After gaining that knowledge, I decided to specialise in the beauty, passion and ideas transmitted by the Persian and Indian artists who dedicated their entire lives to creating magnificent miniature paintings in the form of folios, muraqas and manuscripts. The subjects in which I focus my research are pigments and dyes; X-Ray Fluorescent and Multi-Spectra Imaging; text and images in Persian manuscripts; Persian and Indian workshops in Safavid, Mughal India and Lucknow; the East India Company and transfer of manuscript from Persia into India between 17th to early 19th century. For more information:

Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey
Associate Member
Elaheh Rostami-Povey

Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East, in particular gender issues in Iran. Women’s employment, feminism, war, conflict, diaspora, Iran in the Middle East.

Ms Marina Díaz Sanz
Associate Member
Marina Díaz Sanz
PhD student at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). My work revolves around the axis power-knowledge-space in relation to Western/Spanish geopolitical imagination vis-à-vis the Middle East and, more specifically, Iran. Critical Geopolitics and IR, the critique of Orientalism and Discourse Analysis inform my research project.
Dr Asghar Seyed-Gohrab
Associate Member
Asghar Seyed-Gohrab

Asghar Seyed-Gohrab is Associate Professor of Persian Language and Literature in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University. He teaches classes on Persian and Middle Eastern literature, Islamic mysticism (Sufism), cultural and intellectual interaction between East and West, and Iranian film and cinema. His recent research examines how classical poetry and medieval mystic and philosophical concepts are applied in modern Iran, to effect and comment on political changes. He has concentrated on three central episodes in the 20th century. At the time of the Constitutional Revolution (1905-11), poetry became a vehicle for introducing ‘Western' social and political ideas. During the Islamic Revolution (1979), Khomeini used poetry to express his mystical ideals; he also used mystical concepts as a buttress for his theory of Islamic government. During the Iran-Iraq war, poetry became part of the state propaganda, supporting the cult of combatant martyrdom, which in the crisis became an icon of national identity and a means of justifying violence. Poetry was also used in intensely personal processing of the horrors and quandaries of revolution and war.

Professor Richard Tapper
Associate Member
Richard Tapper

Lecturer, Reader and Professor in SOAS 1967-2004; fieldwork in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey; published on pastoral nomadism, ethnic and tribal minorities and the state, material cultures, culinary cultures, anthropology of Islam, Iranian Cinema.

Dr Ghoncheh Tazmini
Associate Member
Ghoncheh Tazmini

Iran, Russia and the former Soviet space; Iranian domestic and foreign affairs, revolution, reform, civil society, comparative democratisation, modernisation theory, Islam and modernity and 20th century Iranian political thought.

Dr Massoumeh Torfeh
Associate Member
Massoumeh Torfeh

Massoumeh Torfeh, has been appointed UN Director of Strategic Communication and Spokesperson for Afghanistan and is a former senior producer in BBC World Service, specializes on the politics and media of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Professor Mehdi Zakerian
Associate Member
Mehdi Zakerian

Mehdi Zakerian is based at the Faculty of Law & Political Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Sciences & Research Branch, Terhan. He is the editor-in-Chief of the International Studies Journal (ISJ), which is published quarterly in both Persian and English devoted to international affairs and human rights.

Dr Farshad Zahedi
Associate Member
Farshad Zahedi
Farshad Zahedi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, University of Carlos III of Madrid. Research interests: Iranian cinema and cultural studies; aesthetic roots; gender representations; psychoanalytic criticism; film theories; history of Iranian independent cinema. Teaching: Moving Image History; Film Studies.   
Dr Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad
Associate Member
Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad

His research interests include:

  • Media in the Middle East with particular focus on Iran;
  • Diasporas and transnational media;
  • Islamophobia;
  • Shi’i Islam in the West;
  • Third Cinema;
  • Big data and digital methods.
  • Tel: 020 7898 4422
  • Email:
  • Room: 587
  • Academic Support Hours: By email appointment

PhD Student Associate Members

Dr Mehdi Beyad
PhD Student Associate Member
Mehdi Beyad

Mehdi Beyad is a Senior Teaching Fellow for the Department of Politics and International Studies.

  • Email:
  • Room: 299a
  • Academic Support Hours: Thursdays 2-3pm or by appointment