Iranian Jewish Culure
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Azizollah Solaymani
Jewish Representatives to the Parliament

Azizollah Solaymani


 

The success of the Constitutional Revolution led to the establishment of the National Parliament of Iran. Consequently, according to the newly ratified constitution, the Jews of Iran and other religious minorities were asked to each introduce their respective representatives to the Parliament. In 1906 C.E., on the 17th of Mehr, 1285 of the Persian calendar, the first National Parliament was inaugurated with a speech by Mozaffaraddin Shah of Qajar, at the Narenjestan Palace.

Azizollah Solaymani attended the first Parliament and began work on the same day as the first representative of the Jewish community of Iran to the National Parliament. It’s said that some members of the Parliament, given their longstanding prejudice against Jews, mistreated Solaymani both socially and politically, extending an expression of their hatred of Jews even to man of his rank and prestige. As a result, Azizollah Solaymani was forced to resign, and he refused to attend the sessions of the Parliament. Thus, for a short period, the Jewish seat in the Parliament was left empty.

The Jewish community deliberated on the matter, and they decided to entrust temporarily the burden of defending the rights of all Iranian Jews to a Muslim senior cleric of the time, the late Ayatollah Behbahani.

For the second Parliament, the Iranian Jewish community introduced to the National Parliament a proactive and outstanding member of the community, Dr. Loghman Nehorai, who on behalf of Yeghouti-el Kashani, also chaired Hebra Kadisha, or The Iranian Jewish Association. Thus, Nehorai set out to make the civil rights of this religious minority into a reality.

A survey of the Iranian Jewish history suggests that up until the Constitutional Revolution, and within the traditional texture of the Iranian society, the religious minorities, Jews in particular, were largely deprived of their civil rights and privileges. No doubt, for this very reason, as the Constitutional Movement was taking shape, a considerable number of such minorities joined the Movement and remained there active, side by side their Constitutionalist peers.