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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .



  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