Dr Christian Emery

Dr Christian Emery

Lecturer in International Relations (Education)

School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


Programme Lead for International Relations
Lecturer in International Relations


I completed my BA (History, 2003), MPhil (US Foreign Policy, 2005), and PhD (2011) at the University of Birmingham. Prior to joining Plymouth I held academic positions at the University of Warwick, the University of Nottingham, and the London School of Economics (LSE). Between 2010 and 2013 I was a post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the LSE. 


British Society for Middle East Studies

International Studies Association

BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group

Chatham House

Middle East Studies Association

Gulf 2000

Professional membership

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching interests

Module leader 
IRL200: Understanding Global Politics
PIR304: US Foreign Policy Since 1945

IRL707: Crisis Points: America in the Middle East since 1945

Lecturer/seminar leader:
PIR100: Discovering World Politics
IRL102: International Relations Since 1945 

Research interests

I am interested in all aspects of post-war US foreign policy, with specific expertise in US policy in Iran. My research covers several areas but is primarily situated within the intersection of International Relations, Diplomatic History, and Foreign Policy Analysis. Much of my published work tries to unpick the origins of the US-Iranian confrontation by focusing on Washington's early attempts to engage post-revolutionary Iran. I have also written about the politics of Iran sanctions for both academic journals and media outlets. Recently, I have started two new new research projects. The first draws on role theory to examine the impact of Iran's revolutionary identity on foreign policy and international order. The second is a new book project examining contemporary Canadian-Iranian relations. To support this research I will take up a visiting fellowship at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. This work is funded by a grant from the Foundation for Canadian Studies.

My first book 'US Foreign Policy and the Iranian Revolution: The Cold War Dynamics of Engagement and Strategic Alliance' was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2013. Reviews can be found in International Affairs, Journal of American History, European Political Science, and Diplomacy and Statecraft. 

US Policy in Iran: The Cold War Dynamics of Engagement and Strategic Alliance 1978-81 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Peer-reviewed articles
‘US Iran policy 1979-81: The Anatomy and Legacy of American Diplomacy’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 24 (4) 2013, 1-21 
‘The Transatlantic and Cold War dynamics of Iran sanctions 1979-1980’, Cold War History, 10 (3) 2010, 371–96

Book chapter 

'Social revolutions and state-formation: the case of Revolutionary Iran in How Regimes Change. Post Conflict Transitions Revisited, ed.HansJ. Giessman and Roger MacGinty (Elgar, 2018). 
‘Reappraising the Carter Administration's response to the Iran-Iraq War’ in The Iran-Iraq War: New International Perspectives, ed. Bryan Gibson and Nigel Ashton. (Routledge, December 2012)

Book reviews 

Javier Gil Guerrerro, The carter Administration and the Fall of Iran's Pahlavi Dynasty , Hi-Diplo Roundtable Review, Volume XIV, No.25, March 2018.
Andrew Cooper, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East, Iranian Studies, 46 (5), 2013, 834-837
Bruce Jentleson, American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century (third edition), reviewed in Argentia, December 2007

Other publications 


'The lure of conspiracy theories in Iranian politics', The Guardian, 1 July 2016 (co-authored with Dr Rohan Alvandi)
'What comes next for Canada and Iran', Op-Ed for Ottawa Citizen, 16 July, 2015
Can the US and Iran work together in 2015?', The Conversation, 22 December 2014
'US ups pressure on allies as strategy for fighting Islamic State falls apart', The Conversation, 14 October 2014
'Frozen out of anti-IS effort, Iran is losing patience with Iran', The Conversation, 22 September 2014
'After 13 years of criticism Washington now needs to work with Iran to prevent disaster in Iran', LSE American Politics and Policy Blog, 18 June 2014
'America's Middle East Strategy and the Ghosts of Carter', Political Insight, Political Studies Association, 3 January 2014
'Trust, not sanctions was the key to the nuclear deal with Iran', LSE American Politics and Policy Blog, 1 December 2013 
‘From the Jaws of Syria’, The Majalla, 19 September, 2013
‘Rouhani hangs back on Syria’, The Majalla, 31 August, 2013
‘Secrecy and Spectacle in the Overthrow of Mossadegh’, The Disorder of Things, 19 August, 2013
‘A Very Iranian Coup’, The Birmingham Post, 8 October, 2009
‘Khamenei puts the ball in Mousavi’s Court’, The GuardianComment is Free,19 June, 2009
‘Khamenei’s Supreme Dilemma’, The GuardianComment is Free,17 June, 2009
‘Facing Reality in Iran’, The Guardian, Comment is Free, 14 June, 2009
‘Iran Reserves Judgement’, The Guardian, Comment is Free, 24 March, 2009