Dr Alam Saleh

BA (Hons.), MRes, PhD, University of Leeds, UK.
Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations (Iran and The Middle East)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • International Relations 160607
  • Political Science 1606

Research interests

Dr Saleh’s research concentrates on exploring the evolution of the concept of security from its traditional ‘realist’ base through to more ‘broadened’ approaches, especially to study societal security issues in the Middle East with a key focus being upon understanding Iran’s position in the region. Since Dr Saleh’s research has its roots in both Iranian Studies and the broader international relations of the Middle East, it increasingly seeks to examine the intersection between country-specific studies and a wider understanding of the regional system in order to examine the kinds of challenges faced in the region in terms of a range of “softer” security concerns, which are often felt most acutely in the domestic politics of individual states. Other research projects, currently in the planning stage, address the role of transitional identities in security and identity production in the Middle East.


Dr Alam Saleh is Senior Lecturer in Iranian Studies at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. Dr Saleh is also Reviews Editor for the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. He received his PhD, MA and BA from the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds. Dr Saleh is Fellow of Higher Education Academy and he has previously taught undergraduate and graduate courses on International Relations, Security Studies and Middle East Politics at Lancaster, Exeter, Durham, Leeds, and Bradford Universities. Dr Saleh has also been engaged with policy practitioners and external professional bodies such as the UK Ministry of Defence, NATO, European Council on Foreign Relations, and has also consulted for Transparency International Defence & Security, UNICEF, and the BBC. 

Researcher's projects

Dr Saleh, along with his co-researcher Dr James Worrall, is engaged in research project, exploring issues such as identity formation and presence of Persian speakers in the UAE and what this can mean for Persian speakers’ positioning within the UAE's cosmopolitan given the perceived threat from Iran and its nuclear programme. There is a large Iranian diaspora in the Persian Gulf States and this has an important role to play in the geo-politics of the region, and for Iran specifically. So far one of their articles has been published by International Migration Review titled: ‘Persian Pride and Prejudice: Identity Maintenance and Interest Calculations Among Iranians in the United Arab Emirates’. They have signed book contract with Cambridge University Press, titled: ‘Being Persian in the Gulf: Identity, Security and Belonging among the UAE's Iranian Diaspora’. 

Dr Saleh and Dr Worrall have also signed a book contract with Manchester University Press to work on Qassim Soleimani and the concept of nation branding. This research explores the multiple dimensions of Soleimani’s image, its construction, use and reception among different audiences. Bridging the gap between a traditional political biography and a work of comparative and regional politics, it places Soleimani within multiple frames of resonance, examining how his image and persona have been shaped by himself, by the regime and by outsiders to create a powerful and increasingly essential narrative which has over time placed Soleimani as a key powerbroker in Iranian and regional politics.


Current student projects

Current PhD Students: 

  • Niloufar Baghernia: Iran and China’s Relationship in an Ensuing Regional and International Systemic Change.
  • Mohammad Shakourian: Legitimacy Crisis in Iran: The Islamic republic of Iran and its People: Perceptions and evolutions of Legitimacy.
  • Khalid Al Khulaifi: The Power of Small States: Examining the Role of Qatar in the Middle East. 
  • Amirul Othman: Middle East Hegemony: The Rise of Iran as Regional Power.   
  • Abdulaziz Alraddadi: Inquiring the resilience of Armed Non-state Actors in The Middle East: an analysis of their complex structure of power dynamics.


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Updated:  13 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers