Anthony Parsons

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Parsons (r) talking with Ali Akbar Abdolrashidi (l) Anthony parsons.jpg
Parsons (r) talking with Ali Akbar Abdolrashidi (l)

Sir Anthony Derrick Parsons GCMG LVO MC (9 September 1922 – 12 August 1996) was a British diplomat, Ambassador to Iran at the time of the Iranian Revolution and Permanent Representative to the UN at the time of the Falklands War.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.



Anthony Parsons was educated at King's School, Canterbury. He served as an artillery officer during the Second World War and was awarded the Military Cross at the end of the war in August 1945. [1] He was then given the opportunity to read Oriental Languages at Balliol College, Oxford as an apprenticeship to a career in the diplomatic service and achieved a First Class degree. He remained in the army to serve as Assistant Military Attaché in Baghdad 1952–54.

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Balliol College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

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Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, and the second largest city in Western Asia.

Parsons joined the Foreign Office in 1954 and served in the British embassies in Ankara, Amman, Cairo and Khartoum, and was Political Agent in Bahrain 1965–69. He was Counsellor in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York City 1969–71 and Under-Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1971–74.

Ankara Metropolitan municipality in Central Anatolia, Turkey

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Amman City in Amman Governorate, Jordan

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Cairo City in Egypt

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Parsons was British Ambassador to Iran 1974–79 and mistakenly predicted the survival of the Shah of Iran shortly before his downfall in the Iranian Revolution. [2] In 1979 he was appointed UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations; in April 1982 after the outbreak of the Falklands War he tabled a resolution which was adopted as United Nations Security Council Resolution 502 demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities and a withdrawal of Argentine forces.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 20th-century Shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967 during his coronation ceremony. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations

The permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations is the United Kingdom's foremost diplomatic representative to the United Nations, and in charge of the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations (UKMIS). UK permanent representatives to the UN hold the personal rank of ambassador. The full official title and style is:

Sir Anthony retired from the Diplomatic Service in 1982 and was part-time special adviser to the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, on foreign affairs 1982–83. He also served on the Board of the British Council 1982–86. In 1984 he became a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and lectured there 1984–87.

Her Majestys Diplomatic Service diplomatic service of the United Kingdom

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Margaret Thatcher former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

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British Council Organization promoting cultural and linguistic knowledge of the United Kingdom

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Anthony Parsons was appointed LVO in 1965, CMG in 1969, knighted KCMG in 1975 and GCMG in 1982. The Sudanese government awarded him the Order of the Two Niles in 1965. Balliol College, Oxford, gave him an Honorary Fellowship in 1984.

Sudan country in Northeast Africa

Sudan or the Sudan, officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea to the east, Ethiopia to the southeast, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It houses 37 million people (2017) and occupies a total area of 1,861,484 square kilometres, making it the third-largest country in Africa. Sudan's predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile.

In 1995, Parson wrote the foreword to Century Story, the autobiography of his cousin Claudia Parsons, the first person to circumnavigate the globe by car. [3]

Sir Anthony was portrayed by Robert Hardy in The Falklands Play .


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  1. Supplement to the London Gazette, 23 August 1945
  2. Diplomatic notes from 1978, The Guardian, London, 30 December 2008
  3. Parsons, Claudia (1995). Century Story. The Book Guild. ISBN   1 85776 027 1.


Offices held

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Peter Ramsbotham
Ambassador to Iran
Succeeded by
Sir John Graham
Preceded by
Ivor Richard
UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Succeeded by
Sir John Thomson