Dr Roham Alvandi

Dr Roham Alvandi

Associate Professor

Department of International History

+44 (0)20 7955 6897
Room No
Office Hours
Tuesdays, 16:00-17:00; Wednesdays, 14:30-15:30; Thursdays, 16:00-17:00

About me

Dr Roham Alvandi is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2014), which was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best history books of 2014. He has written extensively on the history of Iran’s foreign relations and his current research focuses on global human rights activism and the origins of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. His work has appeared in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Cold War History, Diplomatic History, and Iranian Studies.

Dr Alvandi read for his MPhil and DPhil degrees at the University of Oxford and his doctoral thesis was awarded the Foundation for Iranian Studies’ Dissertation Prize and the University of Oxford’s Pavry Memorial Prize. He is also a graduate of the University of Sydney, where he received the University Medal, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Before joining the LSE, he worked on the strategic planning staff in the office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Tehran. He is a Fellow of the British Institute of Persian Studies and the Royal Historical Society.

Other titles: Undergraduate Tutor; Director, LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Project


Iran; Modern Middle East; Cold War

Teaching and supervision

Dr Roham Alvandi teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY321: The Struggle for the Persian Gulf, 1945-2003

At masters level:

HY440: The Emergence of Modern Iran: State, Society, and Diplomacy


Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014)

The Shah's Détente with Khrushchev: Iran's 1962 Missile Base Pledge to the Soviet Union,’ Cold War History 14, no. 3 (2014), pp. 423-444

‘Guest Editor’s Introduction: Iran and the Cold War,’ Iranian Studies 47, no. 3 (2014), Special Issue: Iran and the Cold War, pp. 373-378

‘Flirting with Neutrality: The Shah, Khrushchev, and the Failed 1959 Soviet-Iranian Negotiations,’ Iranian Studies 47, no. 3 (2014), Special Issue: Iran and the Cold War, pp. 419-440

‘Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The Origins of Iranian Primacy in the Persian Gulf,’ Diplomatic History 36, no. 2 (2012), pp. 337-372

‘Muhammad Reza Pahlavi and the Bahrain Question, 1968-1970,’ British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 37, no. 2 (2010), pp. 159-177


News and media


Dr Roham Alvandi on BBC Radio 4

Dr Roham Alvandi was on BBC Radio 4’s Briefing Room programme on 4 January, speaking about the historical context for the protests in Iran. Who are the protesters in Iran and what do they want? Listen to his contribution on BBCiPlayer.


BBC/NPR Marketplace programme

On 12 October, Dr Roham Alvandi was on BBC World Service/NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report talking about Trump’s impending decision on the Iran nuclear agreement. As the deadline for President Donald Trump to recertify the Iran nuclear deal looms, Dr Alvandi examined the implications for Europe, Asia and the rest of the global business community if sanctions are to be reimposed. Catch up with his interview in Marketplace's website.


Head of LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Project

In September, Dr Roham Alvandi succeeded Professor Piers Ludlow, now Deputy Head of Department and Director of Teaching Programmes, as head of Cold War Studies Project. LSE IDEAS has been the home of Cold War Studies since 2004. “Now in its second decade”, Dr Alvandi told LSE IDEAS, “the Cold War Studies Project is the legacy of the groundbreaking research on the global Cold War that the LSE is known for throughout the world. Building on the work of Mick Cox, Arne Westad, Piers Ludlow, and many other colleagues at LSE and our partner institutions, we hope in the years ahead to continue our global approach to the study of the Cold War".


Quoted in USA Today

Dr Roham Alvandi contributed to an article on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East visit, published by USA Today on 22 May. In the article, he shares his opinion on lessons learned from Nixon’s “impeachment diplomacy” in Trump's first foreign trip. Read "The pitfalls of 'impeachment diplomacy:' Lessons from Nixon in Trump's foreign trip".


BBC World

Dr Roham Alvandi appeared on BBC World on 12 May to discuss the upcoming Iranian presidential election.


Watch the full interview


Contribution to upcoming archival series about Iran “The Third Path"

Dr Roham Alvandi is a contributor in the upcoming 12-part series The Third Path, covering the recent history of Iran. The series, produced by Archival, blends intense scholarship, visual effects and sound design to recount the history and complexities of one of the most mysterious countries in the modern world. “More often then not", says Dr Alvandi referring to the project, "the discussion about Iran is so superficial, and lacks any kind of substance or context, so I wanted to join this project because it was an opportunity to take the time to really think about Iran, think about its history, think about its culture, and give people the context within which to understand what’s going on today.”


Watch a teaser

Quoted in Gulf News article

On 20 September, in an article by Gulf News, titled “Lifting Sanctions Doesn’t Land Iran Trade Boom”, Dr Roham Alvandi was quoted on the frustration that many Iranians feel with the lack of progress on lifting sanctions on Iran. Read his views.



Piece in the Guardian

On 1 July, the Guardian published a piece co-authored by Dr Roham Alvandi (LSE) and Dr Christian Emery (University of Plymouth) for the Tehran Bureau. The article, titled “The lure of conspiracy theories in Iranian politics”, addresses conspiracy theories and BBC Persian’s reporting on Ayatollah Khomeini’s contacts with the United States at the time of the Iranian Revolution. Read their full article.



Times Higher Education

Dr Roham Alvandi was quoted in an article in the Times Higher Education called “End of Iran Sanctions will not Lead to ‘Sea Change' in Region for HE” (28 January 2016). Read his views on the lifting of sanctions on Iran and Higher Education.


Book event at the Nixon Presidential Library

Dr Roham Alvandi was at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on 17 September, talking about his book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah. His book was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best history books of 2014. It offers a new account of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's relationship with the United States by examining the partnership he forged with President Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. Watch the event.



BBC World News

Dr Roham Alvandi, the department's expert on Iran, Modern Middle East, and the Cold War, was interviewed by BBC World News on 24 August 2015 about the opening of the British and Iranian embassies in Tehran and London.

Watch the interview


Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah one of the best books of 2014 according to FT

Financial Times selects Dr Roham Alvandi's book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah, as one of its best books of 2014. The book made it on to their summer list a few months ago and is now selected for their annual list. Read more about it.



Dr Roham Alvandi on Ireland's Newstalk Radio

Dr Roham Alvandi spoke on a panel discussion on "Nixon and Détente" for Ireland’s Newstalk Radio on 5 October 2014 night, alongside historians Daniel Geary, Margaret Macmillan, and Jeremi Suri. The panel was hosted by Patrick Geoghegan on his ‘Talking History’ radio show. Listen to the podcast.



Dr Roham Alvandi on the Deutsche Welle

Dr Roham Alvandi gave an interview to the German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, about US-Iran relations and the situation in Iraq. "Islamic State." Dr Alvandi argues that politics prevent Tehran and Washington from cooperating publicly against the Islamic State. The interview was published on 25 September 2014. Read the interview.



Dr Roham Alvandi in a panel discussion at the Cargenie Endowment

Dr Roham Alvandi was at the Carnegie Endowment, Washington DC, to discuss the Persian Gulf on 10 September 2014. He was part of a panel titled, “Unlikely Allies: U.S.-Iranian-Saudi Cooperation in the Persian Gulf”. Dr Alvandi " reflected on the last period of U.S.-Iranian-Saudi collaboration—during the Cold War—when the three countries were united against communism. He shared insights from his new book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War, highlighting how the Nixon-Shah relationship can illuminate the future path of U.S.-Iranian relations". For more information about this event and to listen to the podcast visit the Carnegie Endowment website.



Dr Roham Alvandi contributes an op-ed to the International New York Times

On 10 July 2014, Dr Roham Alvandi wrote an op-ed contribution to the International New York Times, called "Open the Files on the Iran Coup". He argues that Britain and the United States need to release their files on the 1953 coup in Iran. Read the contribution.



Dr Roham Alvandi’s Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah chosen as one of the Financial Times’s summer books 2014

In the newspaper's section entitled FT’s Summer Books 2014, Tony Barber, Europe Editor and Associate Editor of the Financial Times, writes about Dr Roham Alvandi’s latest book: "Knowledge of the 1970s, when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was one of Washington’s closest global allies, is essential for anyone wishing to understand why it is so difficult for the US and Iran to overcome their differences. Alvandi throws new light on the period by showing that Iran’s last shah was more than just President Richard Nixon’s cat’s paw in the Middle East."



Dr Roham Alvandi interviewed on BBC World News

Dr Roham Alvandi was interviewed on BBC World News television on 17 June regarding US-Iran relations and the unfolding crisis in Iraq. Speaking with the BBC’s David Eades, he discussed the potential for Iranian-American military cooperation in Iraq and the importance of opening a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia to stem the rising tide of Sunni-Shi’a conflict in the region. Watch the video clip here. Dr Alvandi is the author of the recent book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War, published by Oxford University Press.



Dr Roham Alvandi partipates in roundtable discussion at the Hague Institute for Global Justice

Dr Roham Alvandi participated in a roundtable discussion on US-Iran relations at the Hague Institute for Global Justice in the Netherlands on 21 May. His presentation was on the role of history in US-Iran détente and the importance of releasing British and US government documents on the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953. The discussion was part of The Hague Roundtable Series which brought together policymakers, academics and civil society representatives with key international expertise on Iran.



New Book by Dr Roham Alvandi, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah

Dr Roham Alvandi has just published a new book by the Oxford University Press called Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War. The book challenges the conventional view of the shah as a mere instrument of American power during the Cold War by extending the study of US-Iran relations into the 1970s when the shah emerged as a major international figure. Dr Alvandi’s research draws on Persian-language sources and extensive multi-archival research, making use of recently declassified U.S. documents. The book examines the origins of Iran's nuclear program in the 1970s under the shah. The manuscript can be purchased on Amazon.


Alvandi Thesis - "Best dissertation of the year on a topic of Iranian studies"

Dr Roham Alvandi's thesis "Nixon, Kissinger and the Shah: US-Iran Relations and the Cold War, 1969-1976" has been awarded the "Best Dissertation of the Year on a Topic of Iranian Studies" by the Foundation for Iranian Studies for the academic year 2010-11. The Committee praised the dissertation for "shedding new light on the political and geostrategic context that provided the framework for close cooperation between the Shah and President Nixon, including the Shah's agency in the initiation and evolution of the Nixon Doctrine" and "identifying openings to further refinement of the study of Cold War politics".