Universiteit Leiden

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Mohammadbagher Forough

University Lecturer

Dr. M. Forough
+31 71 527 4183

Mohammadbagher Forough's current research investigates contemporary shifts in global geopolitics/geo-economics, namely, the rise of the new great powers such as China and regional powers such as Iran.

More specifically, he investigates the geopolitical and geo-economic implications of China's New Silk Road initiative, otherwise known as One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, with a focus on connectivity, infrastructure, and energy security of the Middle East and Asia.

More information about Mohammadbagher Forough


Mohammadbagher Forough's research is, broadly speaking, focused on geopolitical shifts at the global level, i.e., the retreat of the West and the rise of the rest (such as China at the global level and Iran at the regional level). 

At the theoretical level, the overall research question he investigates is how the elements of 'geo' (namely, geographical factors, connectivity, infrastructure projects, energy security) and 'politics' mutually affect and are affected by each other. 

More specifically, he focuses on three interlinked avenues of research: 

1. The specific geopolitical phenomenon that Dr. Forough is currently working on is China's Belt and Road initiative (also known as OBOR or the New Silk Road) and how it is reconfiguring the global 'politics' and remapping the global 'geo'graphy, with a special focus on the role of Middle East in general and Iran in particular in this initiative. Three specific lenses through which he examines this Chinese initiative are: infrastructure, connectivity, and energy security. 

2. The second avenue of research is the role of the Middle East within the dynamic context of the global geopolitical shifts in the partial retreat of the US from the Middle East and the increasing presence of China and Russia in the region. The Middle East is looking eastward. It is intimately involved in the Chinese initiative, Belt and Road, in terms of energy security, infrastructure projects, (counter-)terrorism, the geographic bridge between China and the West, and so forth. This strand of research involves an investigation of the ways in which the Middle East shapes and is shaped by the global geopolitical shifts in general and the Belt and Road initiative in particular.

3. Another research area, related to the themes above, that Mohammadbagher Forough is working on is the role of Iran in the context of the global geopolitical shifts, its rise as a regional power, its tactical (not strategic) alliance with China and Russia, its rivalry with Saudi-Arabia, its pragmatic (but sometimes tense) relation with Turkey, its post-sanctions foreign policy, its numerous influences on its neighbors, its influential place in the Shia world, its energy resources, its highly significant role in the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (due to its geography), and so forth. Iran is both intimately affecting and getting affected by these geopolitical dynamics at both the global and regional level and thus offers urgent research questions for academic enquiry.

University Lecturer

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.09c


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