Iraj Afshar

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Iraj Afshar
Born8 October 1925
Tehran, Iran
Died9 March 2011(2011-03-09) (aged 85)
Tehran, Iran
Resting placeNumber 300 Tomb, Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery[1]
OccupationWriter, historian, Iranologist
Alma materUniversity of Tehran
SpouseShayesteh Afsharieh (1945–1996, her death)[2]
RelativesMahmoud Afshar (father)
Nosrat Barazandeh (mother)

Iraj Afshar (Persian: ایرج افشار; 8 October 1925 – 9 March 2011)[3] was a bibliographer, historian, scholar, professor, and an iconic figure in the field of Persian studies.[4] Afshar was a professor emeritus of the University of Tehran.[3] He was a consulting editor of Encyclopædia Iranica at Columbia University.[5]


Iraj Afshar was born on 8 October 1925 in Tehran, Iran to parents Nosrat Barazandeh and Mahmoud Afshar [fa]. He attended Zoroastrian Shāpour Secondary School and Firouz-Bahrām High School in Tajrish, Tehran. In 1945, he married Shayesteh Afsharieh and together they had four sons.[5]

Iraj Afshar recorded the monuments of Yazd in his three-volume "yādegār-hāye Yazd (Monuments of Yazd)". He was known as, "the doyen of standard Persian language bibliographers". Afshar played a significant role in the development of the field of Iranology in Iran and throughout the world during the second half of the 20th century. He was the editor of Sokhan, a prolific Iranology journal, under the responsibility of Parviz Natel-Khanlari and also the editor of rāhnamāye ketāb (Bibliography Guide), Mehr, farhang-e Iranzamin (Culture of Iran) and Ayandeh.

He was the chief bibliographer of Persian books at Harvard University. Afshar was associated with UNESCO and taught at the University of Bern and University of Tehran.

He was on the advisory council for the Iranian Studies Journal.

Biographical timeline[edit]

Iraj Afshar (right) with Allahyar Saleh, Abbas Zaryab and Reza Mostowfi at Marlik, 1962
  • 1925: Birth in Tehran, Iran (Father: Dr. Mahmoud Afshar, Mother: Nosrat Barazandeh)
  • 1933–1945: Attended Zoroastrian Shāpour Secondary School and Firouz-Bahrām High School in Tajrish, Tehran
  • 1944–1946: Manager of Ayandeh Journal
  • 1945: Received Diploma in Literature
  • 1945: Marriage to Shayesteh Afsharieh
  • 1945–1949: Attended University of Tehran majoring in Law, thesis: Minorities in Iran
  • 1946–1955: Collaboration with jahān-e now (New World) Journal (Editor in Chief: Hossein Hejazi)
  • 1950: Employed by Ministry of Culture and Education as educator at Sharif High School and Gharib High School
  • 1951–1960: Librarian – Law Library of University of Tehran – with encouragement from Dr. Mohsen Sabah and Mohammad-Taqi Danesh-Pajouh
  • 1952–1953: Editor-in-Chief of Mehr Journal (licensee: Majeed Movaqqar)
  • 1952-2011: Founder and Managing Editor of farhang-e Irānzamin Journal (in association with Mohammad-Taqi Danesh-Pajouh, Manoucher Sotoudeh, Mostafa Mogharrabi, Abbas Zaryab Khoyee)
  • 1963–1966: Publication of ketābhāy-e Iran (Books of Iran) (Annual bibliography)
  • 1954–1956: Editor-in-Chief of Sokhan Journal (licensee: Dr. Parviz Natel-Khanlari)
  • 1955–1961: Director ketābhāy-e māh (Books of the Month) Journal (Publication of Society of Publishers with cooperation of Franklin Publishing Corporation)
  • 1956–1963: Acting Managing Director bongāh-e tarjomeh o nasher-e ketāb (Institute for Translation and Publishing of Books)
  • 1956–1957: Attended UNESCO Educational and Practical Library Science training in Europe
  • 1957–1958: Co-founder bāshgāh-e ketāb (Book Club) later named anjoman-e ketāb (Book Society)
  • 1958–1969: Educator Library Science at dāneshsarāy-e ālee (Higher Education) division of University of Tehran
  • 1958–1979: Managing Editor rāhnamāy-e ketāb Journal (licensee: Ehsan Yarshater)
  • 1958–1979: Director anjoman-e ketāb (Book Society)
  • 1961–1979: Founder nashriyeh noskhehāy-e khatti (Journal of Manuscripts), Central Library of University of Tehran (in collaboration with Mohammad-Taqi Danesh-Pajouh)
  • 1961–1962: Director of the Library of dāneshsarāy-e āli
  • 1962: Director National Library of Iran (founded Iranian Studies Branch, founded Bibliography of Iran and indexing of library's manuscripts with efforts of Abdollah Anvar)
  • 1962: Return to teaching at dāneshsarā-e āli
  • 1963–1964: Return to University of Tehran as Director of Center of Bibliographic Research and Indexing
  • 1963: Indexing and Cataloging Harvard University printed Persian books
  • 1963: Technical Manager of Library Sciences Literacy Committee (UNESCO National commission)
  • 1964–1971: Director of Bureau of Publications and Cultural Relations (Later named Bureau of Publications and Library Relations)
  • 1965–1979: Director of Central Library and Document Center, University of Tehran
  • 1965–1973: Teaching at Iran Historical Social Divisions dāneshkadeh olum ejtemāee (Department of Social Sciences) University of Tehran
  • 1966–1979: Founded ketābdāri Journal, a publication of University of Tehran Central Library
  • 1969: Director National Book Center interrelated to UNESCO National Commission
  • 1969–1979: Associate Professor, later Professor of History (Historical Documents and Native History) Department of Literature and Human Sciences, University of Tehran. (Manuscripts in Library Science) College of Educational Sciences
  • 1969–1972: Director Iranshenāsi Journal, Publication of Department of Literature and Human Sciences, University of Tehran
  • 1969–1979: Permanent Director of Congress of Iranian Studies
  • 1979–1983: Established sāzemān-e ketāb (independently)
  • 1979–1993: Published Ayandeh Journal from 5th volume for fifteen years
  • 1983: Death of father (Dr. Mahmoud Afshar, PhD.)
  • 1984: Established nāmvāreh-e Dr. Mahmoud Afshar published by Doctor Mahmoud Afshar Foundation. From 11th volume it was named pajouhesh-hāye Irāni (Iranian Studies/Research)
  • 1989: Teaching at Bern University, Bern Switzerland
  • 1996: Death of spouse (Shayesteh Afsharieh)
  • 1998: Cataloging Persian manuscripts at Austrian National Library (Vienna)
  • 2001: Established daftar-e tārikh, publishing small documents and thesis from Doctor Mahmoud Afshar Foundation


Afshar's grave at Behesht Zahra Cemetery
  • 1951: Society of Iranian Studies (President Ebrahim Pourdavoud and Secretary Dr. Mohammad Moien)
  • 1955–1978: Founding Member Iranian Society of Philosophy and Human Sciences affiliated with UNESCO national committee
  • 1958: Ministry of Foreign Relation's Library Council
  • 1959: Committee to establish countrywide archiving representing UNESCO national committee
  • 1962: University of Tehran Central Library council
  • 1962: Executive Council "Institute of research in literature and Iranian languages council" (Ministry of Culture and Art)
  • 1964–1978: Board to select book (Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and Art)
  • 1965: Executive Board (Center for Research and introduction of Iranian Civilization and Culture)
  • 1965: Board of Founders Iranian Society of History of Science and Medicine
  • 1972–1976: Council of Tehran Public Libraries
  • 1972–1978: Book of the Year Award Committee
  • 1972–1976: Iran Librarian Society
  • 1974–1978: Executive Board "History Society" affiliated with "Language and Literature Cultural Center" Also the secretary of the Cultural Center
  • 1974: Board of Trusties "Mojtaba Minavi Endowment Library" and Shahnameh Foundation
  • 1976: Board of Trusties "Sayeed Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh Publish works" consigned to University of Tehran
  • 1977: Selected guardian "Mohammad Fateh Endowment Dormitory" University of Tehran
  • 1977–1978: Board of Trusties "Iran Cultural Foundation"
  • 1977–1978: Supreme Council of "Iran National Documents"
  • 1979–1982: Board of Founders National Monuments Society
  • 1979: Europe Iranian Studies Society
  • 1983: Council of Custodians Doctor Mahmud Afshar Foundation (Selected Custodian)
  • 1989: Honorary Member Institute of Central and West Asian Studies, Karachi
  • 1990: Board of Experts al-Furqān, Islamic Heritage Foundation
  • 1993: Consulting Editor Encyclopædia Iranica
  • 1993: Board of Trusties Dr. Ali-Akbar Siasi Endowment Library, University of Yazd
  • 1997: Honorary Member Society of Iranian Studies (U.S.A)
  • 1997: Supreme Council Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia (CGIE)
  • 1998: Supreme Council National Library (Iran)
  • 2000: Council of experts nāmehye bahārestān (Journal of Manuscript Research and Studies)
  • 2001: Council of Guardians Eurasian Studies Journal (Italy)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "سنگ مزار ایرج افشار نصب شد+عکس" [Iraj Afshar Tombstone Was Installed]. (in Persian). November 30, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "ايرج افشار، سالک واصل عشق ايران" [Iraj Afshar, the Seeker of Love in Iran]. VOA News (in Persian). March 11, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b "Iraj Afshar: Historian". Pars Times. Retrieved 2021-11-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Azizi, M. H. (July 2011). "In memory of Iraj Afshar (1925 – 2011), a renowned scholar of Iranian studies". Archives of Iranian Medicine. 14 (4): 303–307. PMID 21726114 – via ResearchGate.
  5. ^ a b Yarshater, Ehsan (January 1, 2000). "Iraj Afshar (1925–2011)". Encyclopædia Iranica. Columbia University.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]