Amir Abbas Hoveida was born in Tehran on February 18, 1919. After completing his early schooling in Iran, Hoveida obtained his secondary education at the Lycée Français in Beirut, Lebanon. He then studied at the Université Libre at Brussels, Belgium, where he earned a master's degree in political science and economics, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he received a doctorate in history. Hoveida joined the Iranian Foreign Office and served in Paris (1945-47), Bonn (1947-51), Ankara (1957), and at the United Nations in New York City (1951-57). In 1958 he was appointed to the board of the National Iranian Oil Company.
Hoveida was prime minister of Iran under Mohammad Reza Shah from January 1965 to August 1977. After becoming prime minister he organized the October 1971 festivities at Persepolis commemorating the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire. As leader of the ruling Iran Novin Party he won a landslide victory at the 1971 general elections. Iran's financial strength enabled Hoveida to strike advantageous bargains with Western customers for Iranian oil in order to promote Iran's own economic development. But the Shah on August 7, 1977, replaced Hoveida with Jamshid Amouzegar.
In November 1978 Hoveida was detained by the Shah's short-lived military government. At the time of the February 1979 uprising he gave himself up to the new government appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini. Two months later he was sentenced to death by the Islamic Revolutionary Court and executed the same day.
Hoveida spoke English, French, German and Arabic and wrote articles for various Persian publications. His favorite recreations include golf, tennis, reading and cultivating roses. Among the honors that he has received are Iran's highest civilian award, the order of the Taj, first class, and the rank of Commander of the French Légion d'Honneur, as well as decorations from many Western, Asian and Middle East countries.