Sahar Nowrouzzadeh: The Importance of Science in Negotiating and Policymaking

  • Isha Marathe
| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

When it comes to U.S.-Iran relations, Iran’s nuclear program, and all of its implications, think tanks like the Belfer Center are at times of vital importance in assisting policymakers in conducting thorough investigations of key issues, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh says.

A former Director for Iran and Iran Nuclear Implementation on the White House National Security Council staff, Nowrouzzadeh also highlights the role of science in U.S. policymaking. “The most significant example I experienced first-hand was during the negotiations leading up to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or ‘Iran nuclear deal’ reached between the P5+1, EU and Iran. It’s not often part of the discourse—unfortunately—but the deal was based on an incredibly strong scientific foundation when it came to crafting not just the limitations on Iran’s nuclear program but also the relevant verification and monitoring mechanisms.”

Such nuclear negotiations are extensive and complex, Nowrouzzadeh says, involving U.S. diplomats and a slew of scientists and researchers from national laboratories and nuclear security sites who produce analysis in support of policy decisions that shape foreign relations and national security. Current Belfer Center nuclear experts contributed significantly to that base of information.

A long-time foreign policy analyst, Nowrouzzadeh has served the U.S. government under three consecutive administrations. Even before pursuing education focused on international relations and the Middle East at George Washington University and the University of Maryland, she had a deep interest in foreign languages and cultures and knows several languages, including Persian, Spanish and Arabic.

A few weeks into her undergraduate studies, the catastrophic events of 9/11 took place and shaped her education and psyche around foreign policy and public service. Her brother was then deployed to Iraq, further piquing her interest in the Middle East and “in trying to help make a positive difference on critical issues that impact the lives of so many.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

"Sahar Nowrouzzadeh: The Importance of Science in Negotiating and Policymaking." Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Belfer Center Newsletter. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Summer 2018.

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