In the 1980s Michael Axworthy studied history at Peterhouse, Cambridge before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986. After a variety of work in London and overseas, he served as the Head of Iran Section in the FCO from 1998-2000, coinciding with the improvement in UK/Iran relations at the beginning of the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami. Since 2000 he has been working in Cornwall as a writer and editor, and wrote his first book THE SWORD OF PERSIA about the great Iranian conqueror Nader Shah (published in 2006).
Michael has also written a series of pieces on contemporary Iran and other subjects for Prospect magazine, for the Independent, Guardian and other publications, and has made TV and radio appearances discussing Iranian subjects (BBC World, Sky News, CNN, BBC Radio 4’s Today, History of the World in 100 Objects, and Start the Week with Andrew Marr). 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.
Michael’s second book appeared in November 2007 as EMPIRE OF THE MIND: A HISTORY OF IRAN (Hurst Books); it was published by Basic Books in the US and by Penguin in paperback in November 2008 as IRAN: EMPIRE OF THE MIND.
Since October 2005 he has taught Middle East History at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, where he was made senior lecturer in 2012. He was appointed Director of Exeter University’s new Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies (CPIS) in the autumn of 2008. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, and the Royal Society of Arts.
REVOLUTIONARY IRAN, Michael’s latest book, tells the story of Iran since the revolution of the ayatollahs, including a full account of the terrible Iran-Iraq War, one of the most bloody since the Second World War and a conflict which has had a profound impact on Iranian society. It was published in March 2013 by Penguin.