Our Fellows Contribute to Research at Archival Institute | Dr. John Vafai

Dr. John Changiz Vafai | JD, LLM, JSD, MPA


Dr. John Vafai is a scholar in the field of international business transactions. He has been recognized as a leading practitioner in foreign direct investment, licensing, and international oil and gas law. He has done extensive research on the impact of the JCPOA on companies in the US, Europe, and other continents, terrorism litigation internationally, corruption and the laws governing business in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Judicial Review decisions by the Council of Guardians in Iran.

He was previously a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., Dr. Vafai conducted research in issues related to corrupt business practices in Russia. Dr. Vafai has taught in a number of universities in Iran and the U.S., including Tehran University School of Law, Rutgers University Graduate School of Business Administration, The University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law, and Western Kentucky University’s School of Business Administration. In addition he was also a Visiting Legal Scholar at Columbia University’s School of Law. He was the editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review and the winner of the Yale University Ford Foundation’s James Raymond Goodrich Prize for Legal Scholarship. Dr. Vafai served of Counsel with Lally & Misir LLP, with whom he advised clients in Russia, Azerbaijan, and New York.

Dr. Vafai earned his Doctorate in Juridical Science (J.S.D) and Master of Laws (LLM) with honors from Yale University; his Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University; and his Juris Doctorate (JD), from the University of Tehran School of Law.  His publications include the first English translation of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, published by the Oceana Publications.  Dr. Vafai is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Academy of International Business.


  • Doctorate in Juridical Science (J.S.D) and Master of Laws (LLM) with honors from Yale University
  • Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University
  • Juris Doctorate (JD) from the University of Tehran School of Law

Areas of Focus

  • Corruption Iran, Russia
  • Petroleum Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • JCPOA Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Terrorism Litigation
  • Iranian Judicial Review

Archival Facilitated Research & Publications

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act | A Tumultuous Journey to Iran and Beyond

This is custom heading element Introduction The nine justices of the Supreme Court, from roughly 8,000 petitions that have arrived at the Court, have chosen approximately 75 cases. One of these cases is an appeal by the Central Bank of Iran. Supreme Court, on October 1, 2015, agreed to review a case related to the [...]

Iran’s Uprising: A Case of Patrimonial Corruption Part 1

This is custom heading element The recent uprising in Iran has a powerful message: eliminate economic injustice. In this respect, it is more potent and enduring than the wave of demonstrations in 2009 seeking “where is my vote.” The 2009 revolt was primarily carried out by young university students, intellectuals, urban dwellers, and those who [...]

The New Era of Doing Business with Iran

The New Era of Doing Business with Iran: Iran’s International Commercial Transactions and Global Security Abstract On January 17, 2016, in a statement following his signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, President Obama addressed that country’s people, stating that “yours is a great civilization, with a vibrant culture that has [...]

Iran’s Uprising—A Case of Patrimonial Corruption Part 2

This is custom heading element Iran’s corruption is more structural and ideologically oriented than the one resulting from nepotism or individual petty corruption. The grievances expressed by the ordinary Iranians on the streets of various towns, reflect the structural corruption that have resulted in a grave disparity in distribution of resources for the ordinary people. [...]

Post-Revolutionary Iranian Law

Luxury Services & Useful Fields: Dr. John Vafai 4 of 6

Competitive Bureaucracies: Dr. John Vafai 5 of 6

World Trade Organization: Dr. John Vafai 6 of 6

Introducing Dr. John Vafai

Fictitious Partnerships: Dr. John Vafai 2 of 6

Praying for Rain: Dr. John Vafai 3 of 6

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