Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

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Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi (Persian: کاوه افراسیابی‎‎, born 1968) is an Iranian-American political scientist and author.


Afrasiabi is a prominent Iranian-American political scientist and author of several books -- on Iran, Islam, ecology, Middle East, UN reform, as well as poetry and fiction -- and numerous articles in international newspapers and journals. Afrasiabi gained a PhD in Political Science from Boston University in 1998, with a thesis titled "State and Populism in Iran" under the supervision of famed historian Howard Zinn.[1][2] Afrasiabi has also studied theology at Andover-Newton Theological School and his theological writings have been praised by Bishop John Chane as a "must read" in his introduction to Afrasiabi's book, titled Mahdism, Shiism, and Communicative Eco-Theology (2015).

Afrasiabi has taught political science at the University of Tehran, Boston University, and Bentley University.[3][4] Afrasiabi has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University (1989-1990),[5] University of California, Berkeley (2000-2001),[6] Binghamton University (2001-2002)[7] and the Center for Strategic Research, Tehran. During 2004-2005, Afrasiabi was involved as an advisor to Iran's nuclear negotiation team.[8]

Afrasiabi is a former consultant to the United Nations "Dialogue Among Civilizations", for which he interviewed the former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami.[9] Afrasiabi is a member of the advisory board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. Afrasiabi has authored numerous articles in scholarly journals and newspapers, including Harvard Theological Review, Harvard International Review, UN Chronicle, London's Guardian, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Harvard's Belfer Center's Iran Matters, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Global Dialogue, Middle East Journal, Mediterranean Affairs, Brown's Journal of World Affairs, International Herald Tribune, Der Tageszeit, Der Tagesspiegel, Journal of International Affairs, Telos, Nation Magazine, Asia times, Global Times, Review of Politics, Eurasia Review, San Francisco Chronicle, Monthly Review, as well as dozens of articles and letters in The New York Times, per the newspaper's archive. Afrasiabi has made dozens of television appearances as a Middle East expert on CNN, Aljazeera, Voice of America, PBS, BBC, PressTV, Russia Today, Canadian TV, and other networks. Afrasiabi is fluent in several languages and has published in Persian, English, German, French, and Spanish. Afrasiabi's official website is: www.kavehafrasiabi.com

Selected works[edit]

  • After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (1994)
  • Nir/North: A Cinematic Story about the Iran-Contra Affair (1996)
  • Infringements (1998)
  • Islam and Ecology (2003)
  • Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction (2006)
  • Reading in Iran's Foreign Policy After September 11 (2008)
  • Looking For Rights At Harvard (2010)
  • UN Management Reform (2011)
  • Iran Phobia and US Terror Plot: A Legal Deconstruction (2012)
  • Shiism, Mahdism, and Communicative Eco-Theology (2015)
  • Upstairs, Downstairs at Andala and Other Short Stories (2015)
  • Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Accord and Détente Since the Geneva Agreement of 2013 (2015)
  • Metaphors in September: Poems Dedicated to the Victims of 9/11(2016)
  • Shiraz Diaries & Jallad: A Novel on Contemporary Iran (2016)


Afrasiabi v. Mottahedeh[edit]

From 1996 to 2003, Afrasiabi was involved in a legal conflict with Roy Mottahedeh, former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, who had been his superior during Afrasiabi's time as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and Harvard University itself. The conflict started with an alleged extortion against Mottahedeh's subordinates and a "pre-dawn" arrest of Afrasiabi by Harvard police, and terminated in 2003 with a civil rights case against Harvard, Mottahedeh and the Supreme Court of the United States,[5][10][11] in which Afrasiabi acted as his own attorney. During associated controversies, Afrasiabi was supported by Mike Wallace of the US television program 60 Minutes,[12] author David Mamet,[13] linguist Noam Chomsky and political scientist Howard Zinn,[14] and former deputy prime minister of Iran, Farhang Mehr.[citation needed] In a video deposition, Wallace has defended Afrasiabi and accused professor Mottahedeh of making false statements to him about Afrasiabi.[15] His "David and Goliath" battle with Harvard has been praised by Mike Wallace, who has stated "I admire Dr. Afrasiabi. He has been wronged. The cannons of Harvard are lined up against a pea shooter."[16]


  1. ^ http://www.researchgate.net/publication/35582919_State_and_populism_in_Iran_
  2. ^ http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/afrasiabi030210.html
  3. ^ http://www.bentley.edu/offices/sites/www.bentley.edu.offices/files/registrar/200801-lsm-gpap.pdf
  4. ^ https://www.bentley.edu/offices/sites/www.bentley.edu.offices/files/registrar/200801-lsm-eegs.pdf
  5. ^ a b Upton, Geoffrey C. (1996-02-08). "Former Post-Doc Will Stand Trial; Afrasiabi Denies Extortion Charge, Cites 'Mind-Blowing Conspiracy'". Harvard University. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  6. ^ http://ias44.ias.berkeley.edu/Newsletters/fall2000newsletter.pdf
  7. ^ http://www2.binghamton.edu/fbc/archive/nwslt-25.htm
  8. ^ Fathi, Nazila (2004-11-28). "Iran Reasserts Its Right to Enrich Uranium as Standoff Persists". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Khatami, Mohammad; Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (2006-09-11). "Mohammad Khatami on the Dialogue Among Civilizations". United Nations. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  10. ^ Afrasiabi, Kaveh L. (2005-02-17). "A letter to America". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  11. ^ "KAVEH L. AFRASIABI, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. HARVARD UNIVERSITY; HARVARD UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT; RICHARD W. MEDEROS; FRANCIS RILEY; LAUREEN DONAHUE; CENTER FOR MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES; ROY P. MOTTAHEDEH; REZA ALAVI and SHOBHANA RANA, Defendants, Appellees.". United States Court of Appeals. 2002-07-01. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  12. ^ "Between Mike Wallace and Me". 
  13. ^ "The David Mamet Society". 
  14. ^ "Reading Kafka at Harvard". 
  15. ^ Video on YouTube
  16. ^ http://www.iranian.com/main/2008/reading-kafka-harvard-4