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Esmail Bazargan

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 11 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2065
  1. Kaveh Bazargan

Esmail Bazargan led an eventful life by anyone’s standards. He was born in Mashhad, Iran, into a lower middle class family. He was studious at school, but his ambition to become a doctor, like his maternal grandfather, seemed a distant dream. The only medical school was in Tehran, and his father did not have the funds to support university studies. Esmail had resigned himself to starting a career in a bank, but an unexpected glimmer of hope appeared. The army announced a full scholarship to the medical university and, in addition, a full officers’ salary after two years. The chance was too good to miss—Esmail studied the required subjects of physics, chemistry, and biology with determination, and managed to attain the 40th place in the entrance examination out of some 1200 applicants, thus successfully entering the Faculty of Medicine of Tehran University in 1944.

Iran was going through political turmoil, with several parties being formed, including the pro-communist “Tudeh” (People’s) party, which was popular with the intelligentsia. (At the time the Soviet Union …

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