Iranian Jewish Culure
Manouchehr Nikrooz
Jewish Representatives to the Parliament

Manouchehr Nikrooz

Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz was born in 1946 C.E., the 26th of Shahrivar, 1325 of the Persian calendar, to a religious Jewish family of Isfahan, Iran. At the age of six, the little Manouchehr moved with his family to Tehran.

Manouchehr Nikrooz studied at Ferdowsi Elementary and Alborz High Schools. Ever since a child, he helped bring in an extra income by working after school in a glass-cutting shop. Later on, he passed the national university exams known as the Concours, and he went on to pursue his academic studies in the city of Tabriz. In 1971, he graduated in Pharmacology from the School of Pharmacy of Tabriz University, and he was employed at once by the Ministry of Health. Before long, thanks to his industry, he had risen high in his career, so far as up until the 1979 Revolution, on behalf of Melli “Shahid Beheshti” University, and even as he held the Deputy position at the Ministry of Health, he served as the General Inspector of all pharmacies throughout the northern and western Tehran.

In 1976, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz married his cousin, Lida Yomtoubian. The couple brought two children, Omid and Illana to the world.

Toward the end of 1983 C.E., by the insistent counsel of his friends, and shortly before the deadline, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz filed with the Ministry of State to run for the seat of the Jewish Member of the Islamic Parliament. Thence, in 1984, having earned 75.8% of the votes of his constituency, he defeated his opponent Mr. Karamat to become the Representative of the Jewish community in the Second Islamic Parliament, a position which he would go on to serve until the end of the Third Parliament.

During the many years of the war between Iraq and Iran, the Jewish community, like the rest of their compatriots, did not hesitate to offer what they could to help the war front and those affected by the war. To that end, by Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz’s advice and persistence, and by the generous spirit of the Jewish people, a sum of seven million toumans was collected to help the war fronts, which was delivered by Chacham Ouriel Davidi, the religious leader of the Jewish community, and Dr. Nikrooz, their Representative in the Parliament, to the state officials. Dr. Nikrooz further played an important role in reviving and establishing the Beith Deen or the Jewish Religious Court of Arbitration of the Tehran Jewish Association.

At the time, the Jewish community grappled with some major issues regarding its schools and synagogues. By then, the Jewish schools were not allowed to have Jewish principals, and there was little room to practice the Jewish prayers or other religious ceremonies. As such, through some long and persistent negotiations, those problems gradually subsided. However, due to the sabotage carried out by certain groups, Dr. Nikrooz’s best efforts to gain the permission for the Jewish schools to remain closed on Saturdays, in observance of the Sabbath, led to no avail. Another problem that had grown over time for the community was the matter of those individuals whose legal partners had left Iran, and in their absence, their properties had been confiscated. Thanks to Dr. Nikrooz’s efforts, this problem too was resolved to some degree.

In 1988 C.E., Dr. Nikrooz ran for the Jewish seat in the Third Islamic Parliament, and having earned 97.7% of the votes of his people, he was re-elected as the Representative of the Jewish community in the Parliament. Thenceforth, he went on to broaden his services, even as he maintained his earlier positions.

Among his most important achievements over his two terms in the Parliament, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz relentlessly pursued the case to reclaim a portion of the lands which had belonged to the Elderly Care Center “Khaneh-ye Piran” of the Jewish community. The area, located at the former Beheshtieh “Eden” Cemetery on Mazandaran Ave., had been placed by the City in their plans for an upcoming park. Thankfully, by Dr. Nikrooz’s keen wisdom and diligent efforts, those plans were averted. Moreover, the Jewish community lacked a sports club and a community hall for its youngsters. Dr. Nikrooz tried very much to resolve this matter, so far as he spent much time, even some of his own money, on the project. To that end, he succeeded to reclaim an 8,000 square-meter of land located in the Vanak Square area, which belonged to Jews. The lot was the first stepping-stone toward establishing a large athletic, cultural and recreational center for the Jewish community.

It should be noted that by the Will of the late Jahangir Yermaiah “Jeremiah”, the founder of the Vegetarian Organization of Iran, this piece of land was endowed in the 1990’s to the Tehran Jewish Association.

On many occasions, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz prevented the old Jewish cemeteries from being vandalized by thugs and bigots. Particularly, to that end, he offered much remarkable aid to build a protective wall around the Shrine of Sarah Bat Asher in the city of Isfahan.

To serve in the Parliament, the Iranian Parliamentary laws required its Members to abdicate all of their previous commitments and responsibilities. However, by the special permission of the Speaker of the Parliament, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz spent one day per week at his private office to help and treat those in need, and he did so for free. Unfortunately, during his first term at the Second Parliament, as a result of a plot hatched by some evil hearts, Dr. Nikrooz was arrested, and he spent 40 days in prison. However, his innocence was proven in court, and he was acquitted from all accusations.

In 1992 C.E., as the Third Islamic Parliament came to its end, Dr. Nikrooz concluded his 8 years of fruitful efforts and sincere services. Nevertheless, for long afterwards, he continued his collaborations as the advisor to the Jewish Representative in the Fourth Parliament. He also continued his philanthropic pursuits in the Tehran Jewish Association to serve his fellow community, besides that he helped resolve the issues and shortcomings which the larger Iranian society was faced with.

In the winter of 1994 C.E., on the 11th of Bahman, 1373 of the Persian calendar, Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz died unexpectedly at the young age of 48. At the time of his death, he had just obtained the court ruling to free one of his fellow Jews who had been imprisoned in the Evin Prison. His sudden death left the community in shock and denial.

May he rest in peace, and may his memory be cherished forever.


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