A Talk at the World Affairs Council of San Francisco -- U.S., Iran, Saudi Arabia: A New Diplomatic Calculus?

On June 27, I spoke at the World Affairs Council of San Francisco on U.S., Iran and Saudi Arabia. The discussion was held in-conversation with Dr. Jessica Mathews, Distinguished Fellow and Former President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and co-panelists Dr. Fred Lawson, Senior Fellow from the Center for Syrian Studies at St. Andrews, and Dr. Hossein Mousavian, Specialist from the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University.

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Source: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1737#.WVVC-saZNsO

Talk at the Commonwealth Club of California -- Qatar Crisis

On June 26, I spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California on the Crisis in Qatar, raising and answering questions with the audience on why the crisis has erupted at this juncture of time, why Qatar has turned into a target of the crisis, what is happening with the crisis, and if there are issues that are not revealed about the crisis that could matter down the road.


A Moderated Discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California -- Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening

On June 19, I moderated a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California with Manal al-Sharif, women's rights activist and author of "Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening." Manal al-Sharif, was named one of Times' 100 most influential people in 2012 and received the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. In 2011, when she learned that the driving ban for women was custom and not law, al-Sharif became the face of the Women2Drive movement. 

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Source: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/daring-drive-saudi-womans-awakening

Arabic Edition of "Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?" Displayed at Beirut, Jeddah and Tehran International Book Fairs

The Arabic edition of "Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?" published by Dar AlSaqi under the title العلاقات السعودية الإيرانية منذ بدايات القرن العشرين حتى اليوم was displayed at the Beirut International Book Fair in December 2016, the same month at the Jeddah International Book Fair which was inaugurated by Makkah Governor Prince Khaled bin Faisal Al Saud, and at the Tehran International Book Fair in May 2017. 

A Moderated Discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California -- Trump and the Middle East

On April 28, I moderated panel discussions on Trump and the Middle East at The Commonwealth Club of California. Panelists Alon Sachar, Maher Khalaji, and Eddy Simonian discussed their perspectives on Donald Trump's presidency as well as policies and actions which may lead to peace or further conflict in the region. Alon Sachar has worked to advance Middle East peace under two U.S. administrations and cowrote A Path to Peace (with Senator George Mitchell). Maher Kalaji is a frequent contributor to The Commonwealth Club's Middle East Forum, and Eddy Simonian, an Assyrian Christian, is an expert on Lebanon's sectarian conflict. 

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Source: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/trump-and-middle-east

A Talk at Princeton University -- A Woman's Perspective on Religion and Diplomacy in Iran

On April 19,  the Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination convened a discussion where I spoke with students from the Program on Religion, Diplomacy and International Relations at Princeton University on perspectives as a woman on the subjects of religion and diplomacy in Iran, areas which I worked and wrote extensively on in my recent book Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?

"Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?" Released in Arabic

"Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? was released in Arabic in December 2016, reaching a potential readership audience of over 200 million people in the Arab world. The book was launched at the Beirut and Jeddah International Book Fairs under the title:

العلاقات السعودية الإيرانية منذ بدايات القرن العشرين حتى اليوم

Translated by ابتسام بن خضراء.

To order, see: isbn 978-6-14425-931-3

E-mail: info@daralsaqi.com
Visit: http://www.daralsaqi.com/
Or Fax/Phone:
هاتف: 442 866-1-961+، فاكص: 443 866-1961+

Source: http://www.daralsaqi.com/book/ العلاقات-السعوديّة-الإيرانيّة-منذ-بدايات-القرن-العشرين-حتى-اليوم

Heritage Doll Project

On December 5, a 5th grader from the San Francisco Unified School District interviewed me for his Heritage Doll Project. The project honors America's rich and diverse heritage by encouraging students to interview and make dolls of people they know who moved to the United States.  I will post a picture of the Heritage Doll shortly. 

Read Student's Narrative:

Banafsheh Keynoush is the first to arrive in America from her side of the family. She was born in Iran in 1968. She grew up with a large family and nice grandparents. Life was good until the war with Iraq started in 1980. Life was hard for Banafsheh Keynoush, and on top of that, she lost two of her good friends.

After the war, she wanted to study politics, but the Iranian government would not let women study in that field. She decided to go to America so she could have the freedom to study politics. She went to Cyprus twice to get her student visa. Then from Iran, Banafsheh Keynoush set off to America.

First she flew to Germany and from Germany she flew to Boston in 1996. She had applied and was accepted to Tufts University. She managed to obtain a Master's degree and Ph.D. in politics. Then she moved to San Francisco and wrote a book called "Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?" Banafsheh Keynoush stayed in San Francisco and continued to work in the field of international politics.




A Talk at the Commonwealth Club of California -- Troubled Turkey

On November 18, I presented at a panel at the Commonwealth Club titled Troubled Turkey, with co-panelists former White House National Security Staff Director for Turkish Affairs Jeffrey Collins, and Turkish-Azerbaijani journalist Mahir Zeynalov. The talk and Q & A were moderated by award-winning journalist Jonathan Curiel.

Commonwealth Club: A distinguished panel will discuss the unsettled situation in Turkey, one of the most important countries in the Middle East, after the unsuccessful coup attempt, a tightening of control by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and increased terrorism by Islamic State.

Play now

Source: http://audio.commonwealthclub.org/audio/podcast/cc_20161118_Troubled_Turkey.mp3


A Talk at Princeton University -- Saudi Arabia and Iran: Building Understanding for Improved Ties

On October 26, I gave a talk at Princeton University titled Saudi Arabia and Iran: Building Understanding for Improved Ties. The talk was hosted by the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies and the Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University.

Princeton University: Dr. Banafsheh Keynoush, foreign policy advisor, explains the often misunderstood relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. With current tensions often primarily attributed to religious differences, Dr. Keynoush contextualizes the role of religion, broader regional tensions, and ongoing foreign intervention on the two nations’ mutual relations throughout history. Presented as part of the 2016-17 Mossavar-Rahmani Center Seminar Series.

Play now


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y60nQgAS1c...

A Talk at the Commonwealth Club of California -- From Arab Spring to Islamic State: A Regional Perspective

On October 7, I gave a talk at the Commonwealth Club titled The Arab Spring to Islamic State: A Regional Perspective with co-panelist Dr. Dina Ibrahim and moderator Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director of Center for Investigative Reporting.

Commonwealth Club:  Dr. Keynoush and Dr. Ibrahim will trace the demise of the Arab Spring and the violent rise and threat of Islamic State with Robert Rosenthal, a former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Source: http://audio.commonwealthclub.org/audio/podcast/cc_20161007_From_Arab_Spring_to_Islamic_State.mp3


Internasjonal Politikk -- Book Review "Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?"

Internasjonal Politikk, the highly prestigious policy journal with readership across Scandinavia and the Nordic region, published a book review of "Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?" The review by Dr. Toni Bleie at the University of Tromsø was made possible by a large financial contribution by the University.

REVIEW: Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic contacts with Iran after a mob attacked its embassy in Tehran. This was a protest against the executions of a number of Shiite scholars , among them Nimr Baghir al - Nimr . The diplomatic breach between Iran and Saudi Arabia was summarily described as an extraordinary episode in a festering neighborly relationship. Banafsheh Keynoush’s new book is an important corrective to this misunderstanding . Since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1929, Tehran and Riyadh broke relations only three times. Each time, the two states relatively quickly selected to̊ restore relations.

Subtitled “Friends or Foes?” this book examines̊ "the widespread misunderstanding that the sectarian rift between the two Gulf countries overshadows geopolitical considerations” and cements a chronically difficult neighborly relationship. The author promotes an alternative explanation: “the division of power dynamics” have long played a central role for the two Gulf states' security guarantees.

But first a biographical note :The author's background is highly relevant to understanding ̊the book's depth and horizon. 

Read the full transcript

Source: https://tidsskriftet-ip.no/index.php/intpol/article/view/515


An Interview with Radio Sputnik

On May 28, I talked live with Radio Sputnik International based in Moscow on the recent rows between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the hajj issue

SPUTNIK: Is this going to be a row like something we saw years ago when ..... there was a pause of three years when Iranians didn't visit Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj?

KEYNOUSH: ..... If we look at the history of the hajj, it always seems to be the last straw that breaks the camel's back in the Saudi-Iranian relations.

Play now

Source: https://soundcloud.com/radiosputnik/hajj-h...

An Interview with Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy

On April 18, I talked with the Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy based at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University about my recently published book Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?

JMEPP:  Banafsheh Keynoush is an international geopolitical consultant, foreign affairs scholar, and author of “Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes?” (Palgrave Macmillan, February 2016).  The book is based on dozens of interviews with Saudi and Iranian leaders, politicians and decision makers, and rich archival material collected and made available for the first time in English. Drawing on unique insight into the relationship over a span of a century, the author challenges the mainstream fallacy of the inevitability of sectarian conflict or that it is the main cause of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and instead argues that the relationship can be fixed through increased diplomacy.

Read the full transcript

Source: http://www.hksjmepp.com/keynoush-interview/

An Interview with Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans

On March 2, I talked with the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans about my recently published book, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? 

PAAIA: Why did you decide to write a book on Saudi-Iranian relations?

KEYNOUSH: I became interested in Iran’s regional foreign policy during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980-1988, having lost family and friends, and being forced to flee our home dozens of times in the course of the war.  Yet, even back then I knew that it was not Iraq I was fascinated with, but Saudi Arabia. 

Read the full transcript:

Source: http://www.paaia.org/CMS/an-interview-with-dr-banafsheh-keynoush-her-life...