Author Archive

Tara Shirvani

Dr Tara Shirvani is a Transport Specialist at The World Bank. Dr Shirvani, an Austrian and Iranian national, is an engineer by training and has earned her Ph.D. in Fuel and Vehicle Technologies from the University of Oxford and her Master’s degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

At the end of the 19th Century, Lord Curzon, the then British Viceroy of India, described Iran and its Arab neighbours as “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world”. The geostrategic importance of the Middle East, with its immense oil wealth, has shaped the policies of colonial empires, secured the longevity of autocratic regimes and given rise to religious elites. The ‘game of chess’, as described by Lord Curzon, promises great riches and influence for the players involved, but has often come at a huge cost for the majority of the Arab people. Indeed, oil wealth, so narrowly shared between the region’s ruling minorities, has historically presented a barrier …