Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Independent Scholar
Website URL
History of the Middle East; Saudi Arabia and Iran; the Persian Gulf region; the Levant; World Powers, Middle Powers and Small Powers in the Middle East
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Dr. Banafsheh Keynoush is a scholar of international affairs. An academic for over thirteen years, she has taught courses in the United States (at Tufts University, San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, St. Mary’s College) and in the Middle East. As the President of MidEast Analysts, she provides international geopolitical consulting services to a host of clients in the academic, publishing, and policy worlds, as well as to U.S.-based and international private sector companies. She is a fellow at the International Institute for Iranian Studies, a team member of the Carnegie-funded Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation Project, a member of the Pacific Council, Women Also Know History, and Co-Chair of the Middle East Forum at the Commonwealth Club of California.

Banafsheh has conducted self-funded fieldwork in the Middle East for two decades, including in Saudi Arabia and Iran, was a visiting scholar at Princeton University (Spring 2017-Fall 2018), and a visiting fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (2011). She has offered peace building advice to the United Nations (2018-2019), the White House (2010-2013) and to U.S. presidential advisors (2018), and the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (2019), consulted for Chevron Corporation, CNN International, and the World Bank (where she was a development program officer for North Africa and the Horn Region), and worked at The Asia Foundation (where she was a program officer for Afghanistan), and a number of international non-governmental organizations.

The author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), which to date has sold over 12,000 copies in the English edition in hardcover, softcover, and eBook, and is translated into several languages including Arabic and Persian, Banafsheh is also the editor of Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East (New York: Peter Lang, 2021). Her other publications include policy reports and articles published in academic journals and by U.S. and international organizations and media outlets.

Recent Publications

The author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), translated into and published in Arabic and Persian, Dr. Banafsheh Keynoush is the editor of  Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East (New York: Peter Lang, 2020). She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on a range of policy issues regarding the Middle East, a regular public policy speaker, and a contributor to international news outlets. Her latest research focuses on interactions between the Middle East and Asia, Africa, and South and Latin America.

Media Coverage
BBC; CNN; PBS; MSNBC; France24; Fox; CCTV
Country Focus
Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine
Expertise by Geography
Africa, China, England, France, Germany, India, Mediterranean, Middle East, United Kingdom, United States, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Diplomacy, Gender, Government, Human Rights, Law, Local & Regional, Politics, Public History, Rebellion & Revolution, Religion, Women