Iranian Jewish Culure
Kouros Keyvani
Jewish Representatives to the Parliament

Kouros Keyvani


Dr. Kouros Keyvani was born in the winter of 1939 C.E., the month of Bahman, 1317 of the Persian calendar, to a religious and cultured Jewish family of Hamedan, Iran. His paternal ancestor, Morad Sinayi, was a physician and the Chair of the Hebra, that is, the Jewish Association of Hamedan. His father, Lalehzar Keyvani, a member of the Board of Directors of the Hamedan Jewish Association, practiced medicine and pharmacy.

Kouros Keyvani studied at the Ettehad Elementary of Hamedan and the Kourosh “Cyrus” High School, Tehran. In 1959 C.E., he left for France to pursue his higher education at the Bordeaux School of Medicine. Shortly thereafter, however, he left medicine for dentistry. In 1971 C.E., he earned his Diploma in Dental Surgery and Gum Diseases. In 1972, he received a Complementary Diploma from the School of Science. In 1973 C.E., he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in dentistry at the University of Bordeaux.

In 1973 C.E., following graduation, Dr. Kouros Keyvani returned to his homeland, where he began work as a dentist at the Pulmonary Hospital of Ahvaz, south-western Iran. Two years later, he moved to Tehran to join the Sina Medical Association.

Dr. Kouros Keyvani’s social activities go back to 1955 C.E., when still in high school, he joined the Board of Directors of the Kourosh “Cyrus” Cultural and Artistic Association. Later, while studying in France, he joined the Jewish University Students Organization of Bordeaux. Moreover, until he graduated, he served on the Executive Board of the Jewish Community House of Bordeaux. Back at home, he joined Jame’e-yeh Faregh ol-Tahsilan, i.e. “The Iranian Jewish Graduate Society”. And once Kanoon-e Pishbord, i.e. “The Jewish Cultural and Artistic Advancement Center” was established, he joined in as an active member of the organization.

In 1979 C.E., Dr. Kouros Keyvani married Louise Banayan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Kanoon-e Pishbord, “The Advancement Center.” The couple brought three sons to the world.

By the advice and support of members of the Iranian Jewish community, Dr. Kouros Keyvani filed with the Ministry of State to run for the Jewish seat in the Fourth Islamic Parliament. In the spring of 1992 C.E., the month of Khordad, 1371 of the Persian calendar, he won the election by 97.9% of the votes of the Jewish community, without a contestant. Thus, he went on to serve as the Representative of the Jewish community in the Fourth Islamic Parliament until it would conclude in 1996 C.E., the end of Khordad, 1375 of the Persian calendar. As an MP, he was chosen to the Health Commission of the Parliament, where together with his fellow Commission members, he undertook responsibilities in matters of health, hygiene and social welfare of the society. He pursued such matters closely, so far as he made hands-on inspections in the field on his many trips to various provinces across the country.

During Dr. Kouros Keyvani’s service in the Parliament, anti-Semitism grew into a major issue. By then, such anti-Semitic books as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were being published; cinematic films and TV movies with anti-Semitic content were being made; and the media could broadcast negative and inciting propaganda against the Zionists, which often led, albeit unintendedly, to misunderstandings against the Jewish people. Gradually, this had resulted in an unsafe and unpleasant atmosphere for the Jewish community. As a reminder, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first published in Russia, was adapted from an earlier work, The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a work of fiction by a French lawyer meant to criticize Napoleon III, which was first published in Brussels. The Protocols…, however, a certainly fabricated document against Jews, was widely distributed in Russia and abroad through its many reprints and translations. To summarize, The Protocols… falsely claimed to unveil a Jewish plan to corrupt and rule over the world.

Through persistent efforts, Dr. Kouros Keyvani presented the authorities with the necessary and verifiable documentation, to assure them that any such accusations against the Jewish minority were mere fabrications, and to dispel the poisoned air and misunderstandings that had ensued such lies. He did all that he could to prevent or stop such acts of insult, so far as he managed to block several anti-Semitic TV series, cinematic movies, books and articles that would otherwise be broadcast or published.

Furthermore, Dr. Keyvani acted in time and kept the Iranian customs from destroying several precious volumes of Zohar, a part of the Jewish scripture,which had safely made it to Iran, only to be mistaken for some Zionist books.

Among his other outstanding services at the Parliament, Dr. Kouros Keyvani put forward a proposal to the Health Commission pertaining to the Social Services Organization. The proposal, inspired by the laws of the French Labor and Social Services Organization, took into account the mandatory retirement after 30 years of service, and modified it by allowing the skilled and experienced employees to work for five extra years as karshenas-e arshad or “Masters” in return for increased retirement salaries.

The proposal was welcomed by those in charge at the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs, and the final bill was ratified by the majority vote of the Parliament.

Dr. Kouros Keyvani further pursued the work initiated earlier by Dr. Manouchehr Nikrooz, his predecessor in the Second and Third Islamic Parliaments, through the many levels of the Physical Education Agency. This aimed in part to secure 8,000 square-meters of land to create a sports club and a cultural complex for the Jews of Tehran, in the Sa’adat-Abad district, near the Shahrdari “City” Sports Club. On another note, over the course of negotiations with the head of the Judiciary and other ranking members of the state, he tried his best convincing them to moderate the orders of confiscation issued against the properties that belonged to the Jews who lived abroad.

During his years of service in the Parliament as the Representative of the Jewish community, Dr. Kouros Keyvani did what he could to raise the respect afforded the Jewish community, defend their rights, and revive their culture, and by his persistence and keen insight, he frustrated many misguided judgments and much unjust prejudice.

In 1996 C.E., 1375 of the Persian calendar, as the Fourth Islamic Parliament came to its conclusion, Dr. Kouros Keyvani ended his four years of dedicated service at the Parliament and resumed work at his private medical practice. Nevertheless, he did continue his social activities at Kanoon-e Pishbord, i.e. The Jewish Cultural and Artistic Advancement Center.

In 2006 C.E., Dr. Kouros Keyvani traveled to the United States to receive medical treatments due to pulmonary and cardiac complications.


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