About Banafsheh | Scholar of International Relations and Energy Issues, the Middle East and Iran


As the president of MidEast Analysts, a woman-owned business, Banafsheh has guided academic and policy institutions, diplomatic circles, global energy, financial, media and high-tech companies, international organizations (UN , World Bank, ILO and UNHCR), think tanks and non-profits, to make informed knowledge-based decisions about current world affairs. She leads clients to build international networks and enhance strategic communications. Banafsheh advised the White House from 2010 to 2013, and is a Scholar at the International Institute for Iranian Studies and at Princeton University. 

Banafsheh is the author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016; Arabic edition- Dar AlSaqi, 2016; Persian edition- Zarir Publishing, 2017).  She conducted extensive field work in the two countries to write the book. Previously, she was a Visiting Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies and Research, Saudi Arabia, and Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Political and International Studies, Iran. She is fluent in Persian, and is a professional English-Persian simultaneous and consecutive interpreter and translator. As an accredited interpreter with the European Commission, Banafsheh has interpreted for numerous world leaders, four Iranian presidents and an Iranian Nobel Laureate, and works in high-stake diplomatic initiatives. 

As a university assistant and adjunct professor for over thirteen years, Banafsheh has taught various topics about the Middle East and Iran and international relations. She has field work experience, and worked on the North Africa region at the World Bank. As a development officer at the Asia Foundation, she worked on Afghanistan's constitutional process and women's legal empowerment projects. She worked with the Swiss Academy for Development to help resettle Iraqi, Afghan and Kurdish refugees in Iran in the 1990s, offered advocacy services to over 50 women NGOs in Iran to participate at the Beijing NGO Women's Forum in 1995, and professional and humanitarian services to human rights and at risk activists in Iran. She also mobilized and led grassroots strategic meetings for environmental activists in the littoral states of the Caspian Sea . 

Banafsheh is a content writer, commentator and simultaneous interpreter with major news outlets including with NPR, CNN, NBC, Fox, and Public Television, and with The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and The Seattle Tribune, and is a skilled English to Persian/Farsi and Tajik/Dari translator. She is the translator of a book for the United Nations titled Refugee Law in Iran authored by Peace Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi (Dar AlSaqi, 2008), and the editor of a book of poetry titled Five Treasures of Ferdowsi (Iranian Calligraphy Society, 1998). She is an accredited member of the Association of Interpreters at the European Commission, and has interpreted at high-stake international diplomatic, commercial, energy, security and political meetings and conferences, including with the UN, the European Union, and the US-Iran Claims Tribunal.

The recipient of several fellowships, Banafsheh received her PhD and master's degree in International Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She grew up in London, Bonn, Tehran, and Islamabad, and lived and worked in 30 countries across Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.  She currently lives in San Francisco and commutes to Princeton.