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Mahmoud Khayami
Born 1930
Mashhad, Iran
Occupation Businessman, Philanthropist
Net worth £100 million (2008)
Spouse(s) Zahra Khayami
Children 5

Mahmoud Khayami, KSS, (born 1930 in Mashhad, Iran) (Persian: محمود خيامی) is an Iranian born industrialist and philanthropist, of French nationality.



Khayami had an active role in the company Iran National (now Iran Khodro or IKCO), which he founded with his brother Ahmad Khayami. Iran National was involved in automobile manufacturing and introduced the Paykan car to Iran in a partnership with the British Rootes family. He also founded the Bank of Iranian Industries, aimed at bolstering Iranian manufacturing, and Kourosh Department Stores, the first large chain of retail stores in the country.

Although Khayami has retired, his family is still involved in the automotive industry, primarily in dealership ownership of one of their previous international partners Mercedes-Benz, most notably in Berkshire, England and Southern California, United States where they operate Mercedes-Benz of Anaheim in the city of Anaheim, Orange County, United States.

In later life, Mahmoud Khayami has been active as a philanthropist and collector of fine Persian art, forming the Khayami Collection. He has promoted of inter-religious relations in the UK and internationally with a special emphasis on relations between the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. Among his activities have been the hosting at Chatham House of inter-religious conferences. He is involved with the Encyclopedia Iranica project, and chairs the board of editors.

He now splits his time between the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, having been forced to leave Iran at the time of the 1979 revolution. Khayami has been residing primarily in the UK for over 20 years and has never returned to Iran.

His philanthropic work (now performed largely through the Khayami Foundation) was recognised in 2004 when he was invested as a Knight of the Pontifical Order of Pope Saint Sylvester by Pope John Paul II, a very rare honour for a non-Catholic. In 2006, he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I by the Duke of Castro. He has also been decorated by the late King Hussein of Jordan.

It was announced by the Department of Education and Skills in 2005 that Mr Khayami had become a sponsor of the UK Government's Academy programme and had sponsored two academies which will open in Sheffield during 2007. Both academies will be run by a leading Anglican Church School Trust. It is well known that he is a friend of Tony Blair whom he has met on a number of occasions.

He appeared in the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List.

Labour party donations

On 3 June 2007, the Observer reported that he had donated £1 million to the Labour Party (one of the most generous ever donations to Labour, eclipsed only by a £2m donation from the steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, and a similar sum given by Lord Sainsbury).

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