Oral History

The Foundation's Oral History Program compiles a record of Iran's modern history through interviews with Iranian statesmen, diplomats, scholars, officials, artists, literary figures, newspaper editors, and other decision-makers as well as witnesses to the events that have shaped recent Iranian history. These memoirs are an invaluable resource for scholars.


In 1991 the Foundation published a catalog of the archives entitled The Oral History Collection of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, edited by Gholam Reza Afkhami and Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr. The publication contains the methodology of the Oral History Program, a list of interviews, major subjects discussed in each interview, indexes of names and subjects, several appendices and other relevant information. Since then, new interviews have been completed and are available in the digital collection.


The oral history collection on the web consists of the original oral interviews and the transcripts of the interviews as they become ready for upload. Readers should bear in mind that both oral and transcribed material presented are products of informal conversations and that the interviewer, narrator, and editor have sought to preserve the informal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. The Foundation for Iranian Studies is not responsible for the factual accuracy or the views expressed in the  memoirs. We suggest that users read the background and  methodology of the collection in order to gain a deeper understanding of the intellectual and practical framework of the interviews.


Accessing the Catalog

To listen to or to read the oral history interviews, you must first register at this site and apply for access to the audio and transcript files. To register, please click on terms of use here or on the dropdown list under oral history and follow the directions.


Who Can Use the Collection? 

The collection at the Foundation for Iranian Studies is open to all serious researchers.


Searching the Catalog

To search the Oral History Archives, type in the search term on the top right corner of any page. For instance, you can type in the name of the person interviewed, for example "Amini," or the desired subject area, such as "Armed Forces." In the first instance, you will be led to the interview with Amini. In the second instance, you will be led to all interviews in which the phrase "armed forces" appears in the abstract of the interviews or in the indexes of the catalog, Note that the oral history archive may be searched from anywhere in the site.