January 16, 2013 | Press Release

FDD Welcomes Iran Expert Ali Alfoneh as Senior Fellow


Washington, DC – The Foundation for Defense of Democracies proudly welcomes Ali Alfoneh as a senior fellow specializing in the inner workings of the Iranian regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“We are delighted to have Ali join the FDD Iran team,” said FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz, who heads FDD’s Iran sanctions and nonproliferation work. “The Iranian threat is FDD’s top organizational priority, and Ali is one of Washington’s most respected Iran experts.  He will further add to FDD’s deep bench on Iran.  In 2013, the Iranian regime, and particularly its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, represents one of the gravest threats the United States and its allies face. Ali could not have arrived at a better time. He will be an outstanding resource for Congress, the administration, the military, the intelligence community, the media, and the broader policy community.”

Alfoneh previously worked as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, specializing in the IRGC and Iranian civil-military relations. He is the originator of the thesis that the Islamic Republic is transforming into a military dictatorship, which he first published in 2005, and has since been adopted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Alfoneh is the author of the definitive series of articles on Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, the IRGC’s extraterritorial operations branch, including a biography, an analysis of his network, and an assessment of his military leadership during the Iran/Iraq war (1980-1988). He also authored Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards is Turning Theocracy into Military Dictatorship, which will appear in spring 2013.

Alfoneh grew up in Tehran.  He moved to Denmark with his family in 1988. He is a political scientist by training, holds a B.A. and a K.A. from the University of Copenhagen, and speaks Persian, Danish, and English, and reads German. His work experience includes elected public office in Denmark, and various positions at the Federation of Industries, the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Denmark, a lectureship in political economy at the University of Southern Denmark, and a research fellowship at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College.

“In the struggle between democracy and totalitarianism, there is no middle ground,” said Alfoneh. “FDD is in the vanguard of those helping democratic societies defend themselves from the totalitarians of our time. It is a great honor to contribute to this struggle.”

Alfoneh will be co-chairing FDD’s IRGC Working Group, along with his FDD colleagues, Mark Dubowitz, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and Emanuele Ottolenghi.

To arrange an interview with Alfoneh, or discuss FDD’s work on Iran, please contact Madeleine Levey Lambert at 202-403-2941 or [email protected].


The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a Washington-based non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.


Iran Iran Sanctions