News & Publications

October 8, 2010

Senior American Diplomat Rejoins NIAC Advisory Board

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Elwood
Phone: 202-423-7957
Email: [email protected]

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council is pleased to announce Ambassador John Limbert’s return to NIAC’s Advisory Board following the completion of his tenure as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran at the US Department of State. Ambassador Limbert served previously on NIAC’s Advisory Board prior to his State Department appointment.

As a career Foreign Service Officer, Limbert was posted at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, during the Iranian Revolution. Only 12 weeks into his posting, he was captured along with 51 other Americans at the U.S. Embassy. Limbert’s experience as a hostage in Iran furthered his drive and passion to bridge diplomacy between Iran and the United States.

“We are honored to have Ambassador Limbert rejoin NIAC’s Advisory Board,” said NIAC President Trita Parsi. “There are few people as knowledgeable and as committed to finding peaceful resolution to the current conflict with the aim of benefitting both peoples.”

Ambassador Limbert has written numerous books and articles, including Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History (United States Institute of Peace Press, 2009). In addition to his foreign policy acumen, Limbert is an expert on Iran’s national poet Hafez and authored Shiraz in the Age of Hafez (University of Washington Press, 2004).

Limbert first visited Iran with his parents in the 1960s, when he began studying Persian. In 1964 he became one of the first Peace Corp volunteers to work in Iran, where he taught English. During this time he met and married his wife, Parvaneh Tabibzadeh. Later, he taught at Shiraz University as an English instructor until joining the Foreign Service in 1973.

Born in Washington, D.C. and a resident of Stockbridge, Vermont since 1980, Ambassador Limbert graduated from the D.C. public schools and holds his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He spent time teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy as a professor of political science (1981-1984) and as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs (1991-1992). He was appointed Distinguished Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy in August 2006 after retiring from the Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor. As a Foreign Service Office he had served in Iran, Algeria, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Limbert was also one of the first civilian officials to enter Baghdad in April 2003, with the Organization for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. There, he was responsible for cultural affairs, including restoring the looted National Museum of Iraq.

Following the completion of his recent service at the State Department’s Iran Desk, Limbert returned to his position as Professor of International Affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy.




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