Friday, September 14, 2007
Richard Frye’s Search for Unending Iranian-American Friendship
The Iranian government has approved a request by Professor Richard Frye, the preeminent scholar and lover of Iran, to be buried on the bank of Zayandeh Rood in Isfahan. Richard Fryer, 87, wrote the following in his request:
“I, who have spent all my life on studying and teaching the glorious culture of ancient and Islamic Iran, request that my body be buried next to Zayande Rood in the beautiful city of Isfahan, the place I have admired and loved all my life, hoping that this would make for close ties between the two great nations of Iran and America.”
Richard N. Frye is born in 1920. He is Agha Khan Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Harvard University. He received his PhD in Asiatic history from Harvard in 1946. He founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard. He also served as the director of Asia Institute of Pahlavi University (now the University of Shiraz) from 1970 to 1975.
Frye has spent 60 years researching and writing history books about Iran. His famous book, Greater Iran, is Frye’s memoirs of these long years devoted to understanding Iran and its history. The prominent Iranian linguist Ali Akbar Dehkhoda famously gave Frye the title of “Irandoost” (Lover of Iran).
Several Americans have been buried in Iran in the past, including one who was celebrated as a national hero. Howard Conklin Baskerville, an American teacher, participated in Iran's 1906 Constitutional Revolution and was shot dead three years later trying to break a siege of Tabriz, where he was buried.
For all who love Iran and love to see an enduring friendship between the Iranian and American people, Frye’s touching request represents a hope in future beyond the present day difficulties. May he live for many more years to come.