Mehdi Sanaei (born March 25, 1968) is an Iranian academic, politician, and diplomat serving since 2013 as the incumbent Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Russian Federation. As a senior international relations scholar and well-known political author, he is the founder of Russian Studies Department in the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, and has taught various courses on Eurasian affairs since 2005. Previously he was a visiting lecturer in political science at Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) (1999 – 2003). He has been a member of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) since May 2014 and member of Kazakhstan Academy of Social Sciences since 1997. Ambassador Sanaei was lawmaker at Iran’s Islamic Parliament (Majlis) from 2008 to 2013. During his tenure in the Parliament, he was deputy to Foreign Policy Committee in the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission (NSFPC), the Parliament representative in Caspian Sea Affairs and chair of Iran’s Parliamentary Friendship Group (PFG) with Ukraine and Russia. He is also the founder and CEO of the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies (a.k.a. IRAS) since 2004. IRAS is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental think tank and publisher based in Tehran whose mission is to analyze and promote the understanding of major issues and current affairs of Eurasia and South Caucasus.