John Ghazvinian

John Ghazvinian is an author, historian and former journalist. He is the associate director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of UNTAPPED: The Scramble for Africa’s Oil and IRAN AND AMERICA: A History (forthcoming from Knopf). He is the coeditor of AMERICAN AND MUSLIM WORLDS 1500-1900, and his writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Nation, the Sunday Times and the Huffington Post. He earned his doctorate in history at Oxford University, and was the recipient of a “Public Scholar” fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation’s special initiative on Islam.

UNTAPPED is a high-octane narrative that reveals the challenges, obstacles, reasons for despair and for hope emerging from one of the world’s energy hot spots. Ghazvinian traveled through twelve African countries—from Sudan to Congo to Angola—talking to warlords, industry executives, bandits, activists, priests, missionaries, oil-rig workers, scientists, and ordinary people whose lives have been transformed—not necessarily for the better—by the riches beneath their feet.

John speaks about US – Iran relations.


“[A] riveting account and superb analysis of what African oil means to a fuel-hungry world and to the African nations involved.” – The Boston Globe 

“Perceptive . . . Untapped drills home the point . . . that a thoughtful strategy to lift the neglected bottom billion must compete against the global giants going about their business.” – The New York Times

Books, Films & Projects


John Ghazvinian talks to CNN about what the lifting of sanctions mean for Iran and its relations with the West.