Sara Bazoobandi

Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW; Marie Curie Fellow, German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Sara Bazoobandi is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. She is the Marie Curie fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies working on Iran’s economic diversification and economic resilience strategies. Additionally, Bazoobandi is the managing director of Middle East Risk Consulting, a boutique consultancy firm providing risk management and business intelligence for global clients. Prior to this, she was a senior lecturer in international political economy at Regent’s University London. She was also a visiting scholar at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore. Bazoobandi has served as an economic analyst for various international corporate organizations, policy advisory institutions, and think tanks, including Nomura International, Roubini Global Economics, and Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior.

Bazoobandi has contributed to various global and regional Track II initiatives and research projects on political, economic, and social affairs of the Middle East and North Africa. She was an associate fellow at the MENA program of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, from 2013-16, and was appointed a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa for 2014-2016. She has been a fellow at Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom since 2015.

Bazoobandi holds a PhD in Arab and Islamic studies from Exeter University and an MSc in economic development in emerging markets from the University of Reading. She received the Anthony Parsons Scholarship in 2009 from Exeter University. Bazoobandi speaks Persian, English, and Arabic.

Her work and commentary on global affairs has been widely published in Farsi and English media. She is the author of the forthcoming book The New Regional Order in the Middle East: Changes and Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan); Political Economy of the Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds: A Case Study of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (Routledge, 2012); “Sanctions and Isolation, the Driving Force of Sino-Iranian Relations” (East Asia Journal, 2015); “GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds: Aims and Motives” (Istituto Per Gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, 2015, 61-81); “Iran’s Economy and Energy: Back in Business?” (Istituto Per Gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, 2015, 25-49); “Sanctions against Iran: Winners and Losers” (European Union Institute for Security Studies, 2015, 57-67); and “The Future of Economic Reform in Saudi Arabia” (Les cles du Moyen-Orient, 2019) as well as the editor of The Politics of Food Security: Asian and Middle Eastern Strategies (Gerlach Press, 2013).

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Iran Confident Israel-Hamas Conflict Can Advance Its Geostrategic Position

In offering support for Hamas and the Palestinian cause, Tehran is likely to avoid direct regime – or irretrievable Hezbollah – entanglement to shield its core strategic interests.

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Iranian-Saudi Deal Highlights Khamenei’s Control Over Tehran’s Foreign Policy

The role of Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, in the Iranian-Saudi talks is a strong indication of the supreme leader’s direct influence over Iran’s foreign policy decision making.

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Protests Redefine Iran

Protests in Iran have sparked a change in narratives inside and outside of Iran suggesting there is no going back to the status quo.

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Iran Protests: Reform, Revolution, or Status Quo?

The demands of the protesters for regime change are a clear manifestation of the deep frustration and the loss of hope for reform among the Iranian public and seem to signal that the time is ripe for comprehensive change.

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Waiting on Hardship: Economic Jihad or Market Liberalization in Iran?

The Raisi government’s political rhetoric of submission to economic hardship fails to provide a tangible economic solution to tackle Iran’s economic crisis.

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Iranian Voters Use Turnout, Voided Ballots, and Social Media to Rain on Raisi’s Electoral Parade

The low participation and high number of protest votes in Iran’s presidential election demonstrate a lack of trust in the regime and a diminished hope among Iranians for making change through the ballot box.

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Rising Crime and Insecurity in Iran

The Iranian government’s failure to devise policies to address the economic challenges facing Iranians has directly contributed to the rise of crime in Iran.

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Upcoming Election Offers Little Hope to a Dispirited Iranian Electorate

The economic mismanagement and resistance to change over the past four decades by a succession of regimes has demoralized supporters of conservatives, reformists, and pragmatists alike.

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Rather Than Addressing Poverty, Iran Cracks Down on Dissent

The rise of economic hardships, widespread poverty, and increasing use of violence by the Islamic Republic are major grievances dominating state-citizen relations.

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Deepening Poverty Threatens the Social Contract in Iran

“Public welfare” and “social justice” have been key slogans of the Islamic Republic’s political narrative. However, sanctions, corruption, and inadequate government policies have accelerated the rate of poverty in Iran.