The Persia Society was founded in 1911 but wound up in 1929. Its successor, The Iran Society, came into being in 1935. Between them, these two societies have spanned most of the twentieth century and a variety of phases in Anglo-Iranian relations. The fact that our aims have been strictly non-political has no doubt helped us to survive in periods of difficulty. Our aims are essentially cultural: to bring together those interested in Iran’s history and culture by means of lectures and occasional publications, to spread knowledge and understanding of Persian culture in the UK and thus to contribute to Anglo-Iranian understanding and friendship.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the late Sir Denis Wright, who died in 2005, for researching and writing this history. Sir Denis played a key role in the Society’s affairs. Following his retirement from the Diplomatic Service after eight years as Ambassador in Tehran, he was Chairman of the Society from 1976-1979, President 1989-1995 and for the rest of his life remained an invaluable source of guidance to the Society’s officers. He is sorely missed.
This work not only helps to spread knowledge of the Society’s past but will be a useful guide for us in the twenty-first century, when I am confident that the Society will continue to be a bridge between two cultures, with benefits for all who are interested in Persian history, literature and art.
President of the Iran Society