Dr Saleh’s research concentrates on exploring the evolution of the concept of security from its traditional ‘realist’ base through to more ‘broadened’ approaches, especially to study societal security issues in the Middle East with a key focus being upon understanding Iran’s position in the region. Since Dr Saleh’s research has its roots in both Iranian Studies and the broader international relations of the Middle East, it increasingly seeks to examine the intersection between country-specific studies and a wider understanding of the regional system in order to examine the kinds of challenges faced in the region in terms of a range of “softer” security concerns, which are often felt most acutely in the domestic politics of individual states. Other research projects, currently in the planning stage, address the role of transitional identities in security and identity production in the Middle East.
Dr Saleh, along with his co-researcher Dr James Worrall, is engaged in research project, exploring issues such as identity formation and presence of Persian speakers in the UAE and what this can mean for Persian speakers’ positioning within the UAE's cosmopolitan given the perceived threat from Iran and its nuclear programme. There is a large Iranian diaspora in the Persian Gulf States and this has an important role to play in the geo-politics of the region, and for Iran specifically. So far one of their articles has been published by International Migration Review titled: ‘Persian Pride and Prejudice: Identity Maintenance and Interest Calculations Among Iranians in the United Arab Emirates’. They have signed book contract with Cambridge University Press, titled: ‘Being Persian in the Gulf: Identity, Security and Belonging among the UAE's Iranian Diaspora’.
Dr Saleh and Dr Worrall have also signed a book contract with Manchester University Press to work on Qassim Soleimani and the concept of nation branding. This research explores the multiple dimensions of Soleimani’s image, its construction, use and reception among different audiences. Bridging the gap between a traditional political biography and a work of comparative and regional politics, it places Soleimani within multiple frames of resonance, examining how his image and persona have been shaped by himself, by the regime and by outsiders to create a powerful and increasingly essential narrative which has over time placed Soleimani as a key powerbroker in Iranian and regional politics.