John Limbert

John Limbert: Foreign Service Officer, Academic, Novelist.

During a 34-year career in the United States Foreign Service Ambassador, John Limbert served mostly in the Middle East and Islamic Africa. He was among the last American diplomats to serve at the American embassy in Tehran.

He was president of the American Foreign Service Association (2003-05) and ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (2000-03). After retiring from the State Department, he was Class of 1955 Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy. Taking leave from the Naval Academy, in 2009-2010, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, responsible for Iranian affairs, in the State Department.

A native of Washington, D.C., John Limbert attended the D.C. public schools and earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University, the last degree in History and Middle Eastern Studies. Before joining the Foreign Service in 1973 he taught high school and university in Iran, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kurdistan Province (1964-66), and later as an instructor at Shiraz University (1969-72). He has written numerous articles and books on Middle Eastern subjects. Most recently he co-wrote the espionage novel Believers: Love and Death in Tehran (Mazda Press, 2020) with Ambassador Marc Grossman.

John Limbert holds the Department of State’s highest award — the Distinguished Service Award — and the department’s Award for Valor, which he received in 1981 after 14 months as a hostage in Iran. He and his wife, the former Parvaneh Tabibzadeh, live in Long Island City, New York. They have two children and four grandchildren.

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