The Iran Society, founded in 1935



Thursday 26 June
‘From third force to critical dialogue’: German-Iranian relations in the 20th century Dr Oliver Bast

Tuesday 20 May
The construction of the Masjid-e Jameh, Isfahan
Professor Robert Hillenbrand

Tuesday 22 April
Two European physicians at the court of Nasir ud-Din Shah
Professor C E Bosworth

Thursday 20 February
“Beautiful to Behold is the King”: The Body and Dress of the Achaemenid monarch.
Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

Tuesday 21 January
Silver and steel: highlights of Safavid metalwork
Professor James Allan


Christmas Party
Thursday 19 December 2013 at 7:00 pm
St Columba’s Church
Pont Street SW1X 0BD
Iradj Amini on Napoleon and Persia

Wednesday 27 November
Outlook for the oil sector post the recent presidential election
Mehdi Varzi (President, Varzi Energy)

Tuesday 15 October
Ethnic Identity and the State in Iran
Dr Alam Saleh (Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Bradford)

Wednesday 19 June
Why write on pots? The case of Samanid ceramics
Professor Robert Hillenbrand (Honorary Professorial Fellow, Edinburgh)

Wednesday 22 May
From Yazd to Bukhara, Sufi Shrines and Mausoleums
Peyvand Firouzeh (PhD student, Cambridge)

Tuesday 23 April
Ottomans & Safavids: Sultan Suleyman and Shah Tahmasb
Colin Imber (University of Manchester, author of The Ottoman Empire)

Wednesday 6 March
Days of God: the revolution in Iran and its consequences
The Hon James Buchan (Author)

Tuesday 19 February
Opposition to foreign concessions and the anti-tobacco fatwa of 1891
Mrs Fatema Soudavar (Writer-historian and Trustee of Soudavar Memorial Foundation)

Tuesday 22 January
Peyvand Firouzeh (Research student, Cambridge)
Sufi Architecture in Central Iran at the time of the Timurids
Zep Kalb (Student SOAS) Modern advertising in Tehran


Christmas Party
Wednesday 12 December 2012
St Columba’s Church
Pont Street SW1X 0BD
Bruce Wannell (traveller and linguist) and Robert Maxwell (poet) will introduce their new parallel text translation of Persian poem

Wednesday 21 November
Architecture of Iran: assimilating the past for the potential future
Mehran Gharleghi(Architectural designer, lecturer)

Thursday 25 October
The rise and decline of Iranian influence in South Asia from the C13th CE to the present
Professor Francis Robinson, CBE, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway

Tuesday 19 June
The Awkwardness of Nader Shah
Michael Axworthy (Historian, former Diplomat, Lecturer, University of Exeter)

Thursday 17 May
A Popular Hero: Colonel Pesyan and his Rebellion of 1921
Dr Stephanie Cronin (Historian, Lecturer in the modern history of Iran, University of Oxford)

Thursday 19 April
Amidst Shadow and Light: Challenges and New Waves in Iranian Art Now
Dr Hamid Keshmirshekan (Editor in Chief, Art Tomorrow)


Tuesday 14 February 2012
The 1953 coup against Mossadeq
Christopher de Bellaigue (Journalist and author) to launch his new biography of Mossadegh.
Held at the Royal Geographical Society

Thursday 19 January
Sinbad’s Cities: Ancient trade and modern dhow building in the Persian Gulf
Warwick Ball (Archaeologist and traveller)


CENTENARY DINNER Tuesday 29 November 2011
How the West changed Persian Poetry
Dr Robert Irwin (Author and traveller)
Held at The National Liberal Club

[On that day the entire staff of the Iranian Embassy were expelled following an attack on the British Embassy in Tehran )

Wednesday 9 November
To show his film of wildlife in Iran
John Buxton (Film maker and naturalist)

Thursday 20 October
Caucasian Christians and the Construction of Safavid Isfahan
Emma Loosley (Author and researcher on Christians in the Near and Middle East)

Thursday 23 June (Date changed)
The Azarbaijan Crisis of 1945-46: the catalyst of the 50-year Cold War
Dr Fereydoun Ala (Private historian)

Thursday 19 May
Stars, Water and Time: the use of stars for timing in traditional irrigation
Harriet Nash (Iran Society travel scholar)

Wednesday 13 April
History and nationalism: the relationship between history and national identity in modern Iran
Professor Edmund Herzig (Soudavar Professor of Persian Studies, Oxford)

Tuesday 15 February
Is the world running out of oil? The oil market, OPEC, Iran, ……
Dr Manouchehr Takin (Senior analyst at Centre for Global Energy Studies, former official of OPEC)

Tuesday 25 January
In Search of the Shahnameh: images and talk about his journey across the Persian-speaking world
Nick Jubber (Winner of the Dolman travel book award)


CENTENARY DINNER Tuesday 29 November 2011
Christmas party
Vis and Ramin: the Mediaeval Lovers Who Started It All
Professor Richard Davis (Professor of Near Eastern Languages, Ohio State University, translator of Persian poetry)

Thursday 25 November 2010
Curzon and the Persian Question
David Blow (Journalist, editor of Persia Through Writers’ Eyes, author of Shah Abbas The Great)

Wednesday 20 October 2010
Iran and Central Asia
Dilip Hiro (Author and journalist)

Wednesday 23 June
The life and times of Muhammad Mossadeq
Christopher de Bellaigue (Journalist and Historian)

Wednesday 19 May
The historical journey of Shii philosophy, from Muhammad to 21st century Iran
Ahab Bdaiwi (PhD student of Islamic philosophy at Exeter University and Iran Society travel scholar 2009)

Tuesday 20 April
IGAT1 – the laying of the world’s biggest and highest gas pipeline over the mountains from the Persian Gulf to the Russian border
David Pickford and Hal Lister (IMEG, the contracting company which built the line)

Thursday 04 March
The culture of contradiction in Iranian society
Goli Taraghi (Writer based in Paris)

Tuesday 16 February
From pulpit to podcast: the 20th century Persian media and their approach to reporting facts, fictions, conspiracies and revolutions.
Baqer Moin (Journalist, broadcaster & former head of BBC Persian Service)

Thursday 21 January
The Theory of Evolution – From Aziz Nasafi to Charles Darwin
Dr. Namdar Baghaei-Yazdi (Microbiologist and CTO of Biocaldol Ltd)


CENTENARY DINNER Tuesday 29 November 2011
Christmas party
Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer
Hazhir Teimourian (Political Analyst and Commentator, former Times Correspondent and biographer of Omar Khayyam)

Tuesday 8 December
Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer
Hazhir Teimourian (Political Analyst and Commentator,
former Times Correspondent)

Tuesday 17 November

Public Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society
Professor Bernard O’Kane
(Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture, The American University in Cairo)
The Triumph of Colour – The Islamic Architecture of Iran

Thursday 22 October
Retrospectives of Royalty, Political and
Personal Power: the Zill al-Sultan,
or Questioning the Anti-Hero
Dr Heidi Walcher BA (Tübingen) MA PhD (Yale)
(Lecturer in the History of the Near and Middle East, SOAS)

Tuesday 16 June
Shiraz-Persepolis arts festival 1967-1978
Arby Ovanessian
(Stage and Screen Director)

Thursday 21 May
From Nezami to Puccini: The story of Turandokht
Professor Peter Chelkowski
(Prof. of Middle Eastern Studies, NYU)

Tuesday 21 April
Shah Abbas The Great and his 1000KM walk from Isfahan to Mashhad
Caroline Mawer

Wednesday 18 February
Iraj Mirza: The poet of love and humour
Dr Homa Katouzian
To listen to the lecture click here

Tuesday 20 January
Why is Iran not an Arab country?
Professor Hugh Kennedy
(Professor of Arabic at SOAS)


Wednesday 19 November
Wednesday 19 November
Zoroaster and the gifts of the Magi
Paul Kriwaczek
To listen to the lecture click here

Tuesday 14 October
Tribute to Shusha Guppy
Dr Chip Stoddard Martin talking about Shusha Guppy’s life followed by Shusha Guppy’s film, “People of the Wind”.
To listen to the lecture click here

Wednesday 25 June
Persian Fire
Tom Holland
To listen to the lecture click here

Thursday 22 May
The Impact of HIV on the lives of Iranian Women
Alexi Trenouth (Student)
Followed by round table discussion with Drs Mohsen and Maryam Shahmanesh
Evening starts 6 pm with drinks and lecture at 6:30 pm

Thursday 24 April
Iranian adventures in a Landrover
Genette Dagtoglou
(Independent Traveller)
To listen to the lecture click here

Tuesday 19 February
Cultural co-operation between Britain and Iran
Sir Richard Dalton KCMG
(British Ambassador to Iran 2002-2006)
To listen to the lecture click here

Wednesday 23 January
Farrukh Husain alias Farrukh Beg: The Wanderings of an Iranian artist beyond Iran in the 16th century
Robert Skelton
(Former Keeper of the Indian Department, V & A Museum)


Thursday 22 November
The Art of Omar Khayyam: Illustrating Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat
Bill Martin and Sandra Mason

Tuesday 23 October
Persia in orientalist literature and art
Robert Irwin
(Independent scholar and novelist)

Thursday 21 June
British consulates in Iran: Their rise and fall
Hugh Arbuthnott CMG
(retired Ambassador, Council Chairman)

Thursday 31 May
The Jester and the Shadow of God: Naser al-Din Shah and his fools
Professor Vanessas Martin
(Middle Easterm History, Royal Holloway College, University of London)

Thursday 26 April
Pattern , cognition and contemplation: Exploring the geometric art of Iran
Richard Henry
(Artist and Sessional Lecturer, Birkbeck, Univesity of London)

Thursday 22 February
The centenary of Iranian Oil: An historical perspective
Dr Mohammad Ali Ala
(Petroleum Geoscientist, Lecturer, Imperial College, London, Council Member)

Thursday 18 January
Denis Wright and “The English in Persia”
Sarah Searight (Writer)


Wednesday 29 November
Through the mystic’s eye: A visual translation of ten poems from Hafez
Jila Peacock (Artist)

Tuesday 24 October
Images of a journey: Recent photographs from Iran
Mr Jason Elliot
(Author of Mirrors of the Unseen, Journeys in Iran)

Tuesday 10 October
The Sir Denis Wright Memorial Lecture: Through the Persian Eye – Anglophilia and Anglophobia in modern Iranian history
Professor Abbas Amanat
(Professor of History, International and Area Studies, Yale University)
This is a Public Lecture at 2 Belgrave Square. Admission by ticket only, starts 7pm