Photo of Dr Michael Axworthy

Dr Michael Axworthy

MA, PhD (Cantab)


Extension: 4090

Telephone: 01392 724090

Senior Lecturer

Michael Axworthy visited Iran many times as a teenager in the 1970s, and served as the Head of Iran Section in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1998-2000.  He left the FCO in 2000, and his first book The Sword of Persia, about the Iranian conqueror Nader Shah, was published in July 2006.  He has written a number of articles on eighteenth-century and modern Iran for academic journals and edited volumes.  He has also produced a series of pieces on contemporary Iran and other subjects for Prospect magazine (, the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman and has made numerous TV and radio appearances discussing Iranian subjects (including on BBC World TV’s Doha Debates, BBC Radio 4's Today programme and History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by Neil McGregor of the British Museum).   He has done consultancies for Credit Suisse and Citibank, and briefings and other speaking engagements for the US, British, Norwegian and Dutch governments, and NATO. 

His second book appeared in November 2007 as Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran (Hurst Books) and was published in Penguin paperback in November 2008 as Iran: Empire of the Mind, now translated into Dutch, Czech, Italian, Spanish, German and Finnish.  He was appointed Director of Exeter University's new Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies (CPIS) in the autumn of 2008.

In March 2013 Allen Lane published his third book, Revolutionary Iran, which appeared as a Penguin paperback in the spring of 2014.  Reviewing this book in the Times Higher, the historian Ervand Abrahamian wrote - 'If you were to read only one book on present-day Iran you could not do better than this'.

I am a member of the The Middle East Humanities Cluster.

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