Ai Ansari
Prof Ali Ansari

Professor Ali Ansari

B.A., Ph.D. (London), FRSE, FRAS

Contact Details

E-mail -
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 463027
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews


Teaching and Research Interests

My research interests include the development of the State in Iran in the modern era, with a particular focus on nationalism, mythology and the use (and abuse) of history. I am currently investigating the historiography of modern Iran, both the way in which historians have interpreted the development of Iranian state and society as well as the way in which Iranian historians have sought to construct a distinctly Iranian identity both in terms of their own history but also in relation to regional and international powers, most obviously the West. I am also interested in the the politics and history of the Islamic Republic and the broader relations of Britain and the United Statesd with Iran.

Main Publications

Single Authored Books

  • Iran: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) [Details]
  • The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran, (Cambridge University Press, 2012) [Details]
  • Crisis of Authority: Iran's 2009 Presidential Election, (Chatham House, 2010)
  • Iran Under Ahmadinejad (Adelphi Papers), (Routledge, 2008) [Details]
  • Iran, Islam & Democracy - The Politics of Managing Change ( RIIA, London, 2000) Second edition, 2006.
  • The History of Modern Iran Since 1921: the Pahlavis & After (Longman, Pearson Education, London, 2003)
  • Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Roots of Mistrust, (C Hurst and co, 2006)

Articles in Journals & Edited Volumes

  • The Myth of 'Perfidious Albion': Anglo-Iranian Relations in Historical Perspective, Asian Affairs, Vol XLIV No. III November 2013, pp 378-391
  • Myth, History and Narrative Displacement in Iranian Historiography, in Ali M Ansari (ed.) 'Perceptions of Iran: History, Myths and Nationalism from Medieval Persia to the Islamic Republic', London, I B Tauris 2013
  • Sir John Malcolm and the Idea of Iran, in 'Ferdowsi, the Mongols and the History of Iran: Art, Literature and Culture from Early Islam to Qajar Persia', London, I B Tauris, 2013
  • 'L'état, c'ést moi: the paradox of sultanism and the question of 'regime change' in modern Iran in International Affairs, 89: 2, 2013, pp 283-298
  • ' Iran under Ahmadinejad: populism and its malcontents' in International Affairs, 84: 4, 2008, pp 683-700
  • Iran and the US since 9/11: Persia and the Persian Question revisited’,in Iranian Studies, Vol 39, No 2 June 2006 pp 155-170
  • ‘Iranian Nationalism’ in Youssef Choueri (ed) Companion to the History of the Middle East Blackwell, London, 2005, pp 320-333
  • 'Continuous Regime Change from Within', in The Washington Quarterly, 26:4, Autumn 2003, pp 53-57
  • 'Iran at the Crossroads: democratisation and the dialectics of the revolution', in Soundings, 23, Spring 2003, pp 25-36
  • 'Cultural Transmutations: the Dialectics of Globalisation in Contemporary Iran', in T Dodge & R Higgot (eds) Globalisation and the Middle East: Economy, Society & Politics (RIIA, London, 2002), pp 132-150
  • 'The Myth of the White Revolution: Mohammad Reza Shah, ‘modernisation’ and the consolidation of power' in Middle Eastern Studies, 37, 3, July 2001pp 1-24
  • 'Iranian Foreign Policy under Khatami: Reform & Reintegration', in Iran & Eurasia ed A Ehteshami & A Mohammadi, (Ithaca Press, Reading, 2000), pp 35-58
  • ‘Persia in the Western Imagination’ in Vanessa Martin (ed) Anglo-Iranian Relations since 1800 Royal Asiatic Society Books, Routledge, London, pp8-20

Administrative Duties

Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies
Member of the School Research Committee
Convenor, M.Litt in Iranian Studies, and Middle Eastern History and Culture

External Administrative Duties

President, British Institute for Persian Studies

Editor, Cambridge History of Iran Vol 8: The Islamic Republic

Member, British Academy, Middle East External Relations Panel

Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute

Teaching Duties

At undergradate level, participates in the teaching of First and Second Level Modern History courses and offers the following Honours courses:

Research Students




Main Publications

Iran Under Ahmadinejad

Confronting Iran


Modern Iran