Shahram Akbarzadeh

Nonresident Senior Fellow


Shahram Akbarzadeh is a nonresident senior fellow at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs. He is a research professor of Middle East and Central Asian politics and acting director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University in Australia.

Akbarzadeh’s research focus includes transnational linkages and the international relations of the Middle East. He has recently led a project on the securitization of Kurdish identity sponsored by Gerda Henkel Stiftung and a project on proxy wars in the Middle East funded by Carnegie Corporation. Within the Alfred Deakin Institute, he convenes the Middle East Studies Forum (MESF).

Previously, Akbarzadeh was a future fellow at the Australian Research Council (ARC), researching foreign policy-making in Iran. The Australian Special Report of 2020 named him as Australia’s leading researcher in Middle East and Islamic Studies.

Akbarzadeh has published more than 60 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals including Democratization, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and Journal of Strategic Studies. He has also authored and co-authored several books including Middle East Politics and International Relations: Crisis Zone (Routledge, 2023), Edward Elgar Handbook of Middle East Politics (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2023), and Presidential Elections in Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Akbarzadeh is the founding series editor of the Palgrave Studies in Iranian Politics as well as an academic editor for Third World Quarterly.

Research Areas

  • Foreign policy making
  • International relations
  • Authoritarianism
  • Political Islam

Countries of Focus

  • Iran
  • Middle East

Other Areas of Interest

  • Elections
  • Political legitimacy
  • Social movements
  • Digital activism


  • Ph.D., Politics, La Trobe University, Australia, 1998
  • M.Soc.Sc., Russian and East European Studies, Birmingham University, UK, 1992
  • B.A., Social Sciences, Swinburne University, Australia, 1989


Despite pressing domestic and foreign policy issues, Iranians could stay away from the polls in record-breaking numbers in a sign of their disillusionment.
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Middle East Council experts analyze the implications of the exchange of strikes between Iran and Israel for the ongoing war on Gaza.
Galip Dalay, Omar H. Rahman, Ranj Alaaldin, Özge Genç, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Shahram Akbarzadeh, Hamidreza Azizi
In this interview with Afkār, Iran scholar Shahram Akbarzadeh discusses Iran’s domestic and regional policy outlook in the wake of the parliamentary election held on March 1, 2024.
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Middle East Council experts offer their thoughts on the unfolding crisis in Palestine-Israel that began on October 7.
Ali Bin Musa, Shahram Akbarzadeh, Sahar Khamis, Nader S. Kabbani, Beverley Milton Edwards, Hamidreza Azizi, Omar H. Rahman, Galip Dalay, Noha Aboueldahab, Saoud El Mawla, Faozi Al-Goidi
The expansion of BRICS, announced at the August summit in South Africa, signals an emerging shift in the international order. Middle East Council experts analyze the significance of the bloc on the global stage and discuss questions raised at the summit about multipolarity, de-dollarization, and more.
Galip Dalay, Beverley Milton Edwards, Aisha Al-Sarihi, Shahram Akbarzadeh, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Ranj Alaaldin, June Park, Oumeyma Chelbi, Abdalftah Hamed Ali
Since resuming diplomatic ties in March, Saudi Arabia and Iran have made rapid progress in rebuilding relations and pursuing de-escalation. While optimism abounds, there are genuine reasons for concern stemming from their starkly divergent views on regional and global politics and the threats therein.
Shahram Akbarzadeh