Dr. Ali Fathollah-Nejad is an Iranian–German political scientist based in Doha and Berlin. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, the Middle East center of the Brookings Institution. He is also an Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Iran Project and an Associate Fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Program of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), acting as the latter’s in-house Iran expert. Educated at universities in France (Sciences-Po Lille), Germany (Münster) and the Netherlands (Twente), he earned his PhD in International Relations from the Department of Development Studies of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, with a dissertation on Iran’s international relations in the 2000s in a changing world order.
Fathollah-Nejad is also a Research Associate at the Centre of International Cooperation and Development Studies(CECID) of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and has been an Expert in Culture and Foreign Policy with the Institute for International Cultural Relations (ifa), writing the major study on Germany’s foreign cultural and educational policy towards Iran after the nuclear deal.
Fathollah-Nejad has taught courses on globalization and development in West Asia and North Africa, contemporary Iran and the Arab Revolts among others at Freie Universität (FU) Berlin’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics, the University of Westminster and SOAS.
He has pursued multi-lingual, multi-national and pluri-disciplinary university studies in Western European countries covering the fields of political science, sociology and law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Public Administration and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in European Studies from the University of Münster (Germany) as well as a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Public Administration and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) cum laude in European Studies from the University of Twente (The Netherlands). He began his studies at the Lille Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po Lille, France) where he obtained an Intermediate Diploma. From 1999 to 2004, he had been working as a teacher in various German education centers, mainly with children and young adults of immigrant background.
Fathollah-Nejad’s expertise and research interests lie in the U.S.–Iran conflict and the role of the European Union (with special attention to geopolitics, diplomacy, decision-making processes and power structures), 21st-century world order, peace and conflict studies, the foreign policies of the U.S. and EU vis-à-vis West Asia and transatlantic relations. He further focuses on politico−cultural issues of immigrant integration.
He has published over 150 pieces in English, German, and French with his articles being translated into Spanish, Arabic, French, Persian, Turkish, Italian, Czech, Slovakian and Japanese.
Fathollah-Nejad is the author of an acclaimed study on the U.S.−Iran conflict and the EU’s role, entitled Iran in the Eye of Storm: Backgrounds of a Global Crisis, which had been consulted over 8,000 times from winter 2005 to spring 2007. In 2010, his Der Iran-Konflikt und die Obama-Regierung: Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen? [The Iran conflict and the Obama administration: Old wine in new skins?] was published by Potsdam University Press in Germany (republished in 2011), becoming a bestseller with the WeltTrends publishing series. In 2013, he has authored a chapter on ‘Iran’s Civil Society: Grappling with a Triangular Dynamic’, published in Aarts & Cavatorta’s volume Civil Society in Syria and Iran: Activism in Authoritarian Contexts (Lynne Rienner), which has been praised by the editors (»of particular relevance is the insight being delivered by Ali Fathollah-Nejad […] on the nefarious effects of the international sanctions on Iran’s civil society. He convincingly shows that economic sanctions widen the gap between the authoritarian state and civil society, cementing and even boosting existing power configurations while hollowing out social forces indispensable to a process of democratization.«) and by former UK Ambassador to Iran (2003–6), Sir Richard Dalton (»I agree with [the] analysis and conclusions […] which is a depressing conclusion for the fate of civil society«).
A frequent speaker at political forums (including the European Parliament, the House of Commons, the French National Assembly, the University of Law in London and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna) and academic conferences, he also regularly contributes to international media outlets. In addition to two monographs on the post-“9/11” U.S.–Iran conflict, he has written over 150 analytical pieces in English, German and French – with translations into almost a dozen languages. His work has been published worldwide, e.g. PBS Newshour, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, openDemocracy, World Policy Journal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Internationale Politik (IP), Der Tagesspiegel, taz, Huffington Post (France, Quebec & Germany editions), Géostratégiques, Mediapart, L’Orient-Le Jour, Insight Turkey, Iranian Diplomacy and the Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture.