Afshon Ostovar, Ph.D. is a Middle East and Iran analyst in the International Affairs Group at CNA and is a member of the Iranian Studies Program team. His present research incorporates a number of topics including Iran’s expanding regional influence and anti-regime insurgencies in Iran. Additionally, he is preparing a book manuscript on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which is an expansion of his doctoral dissertation “Guardians of the Islamic Revolution: Ideology, Politics, and the Development of Military Power in Iran” (2009). The most recent media coverage on his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, and Chicago Public Radio. Ostovar received a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona.
Previous positions: Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (2006-2008); Subject Matter Expert (Iran), SAIC (2008); Research Associate, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (2005-2006); Graduate Student Instructor, University of Michigan (2004-2006); English Instructor, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan (1999).
Weblog: Zamin, an occasional blog on Iranian politics, military developments, and regional affairs.
Publications of Interest
Service in Iran’s Armed Forces. (Co-authored with Michael Connell) Washington D.C.: MCU Press (forthcoming Fall 2011).
Revolutionary Guards: Armed Forces and Power in Modern Iran. (Book manuscript, currently under preparation).
“Iran’s Basij Milita: Membership in a Militant Islamist Organization.” Alexandria: CNA Strategic Studies, Spring 2011.
“The Iconology of Jihad.” In Jihadi Culture. ed. Thomas Hegghammer. Cambridge University Press, 2011 (forthcoming).
“Guardians of the Islamic Revolution: Ideology, Politics, and the Development of Military Power in Iran (1979-2009).” Ph.D. Dissertation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2009.
“From ‘Ali to Khomeini: The Development of Shi’i Islamism.” West Point: The Combating Terrorism Center, 2008.
Visual Motifs in Jihadi Internet Propaganda. West Point: The Combating Terrorism Center, 2006.
Recent Talks and Presentations
“Prospects for Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election,” 13 March 2009, Persia House (Booz Allen Hamilton), McLean, Virginia.
“Ideology & Militancy in Revolution & War: Political Islam & the Iranian Sepah-e Pasdaran (1979–89),” Middle East Studies Association A¬nnual Conference, 18 November 2008, Washington D.C.
“Lebanese Hizballah: Between Nation & Religion.” 2 November 2007, United States Military Academy, West Point.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps & Shi`i Islamism.” 5 June 2007, Army Directed Studies Office, Arlington, Virginia.
“Methods & Content in Jihadi Visual Propaganda on the Internet.” 26 October 2006, University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
“Visualizing Jihad: Militant Salafi Ideology and Jihadi Internet Propaganda.” 15 October 2005, Counter Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy, West Point.