In this paper, a novel iris feature extraction technique with intelligent classifier is proposed for high performance iris recognition. We use one dimensional circular profile to represent iris features. The reduced and significant features afterward are extracted by Sobel operator and 1-D wavelet transform. So as to improve the accuracy, this paper combines probabilistic neural network (PNN) and particle swarm optimization (PSO) for an optimized PNN classifier model. A comparative experiment of existing methods for iris recognition is evaluated on CASIA iris image databases. The experimental results reveal the proposed algorithm provides superior performance in iris recognition. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.