Abolhassan Banisadr

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Abolhassan Banisadr
سیدابوالحسن بنی‌صدر
Abū l-Hasan Banīsadr IMG 2044 edit.jpg
1st President of Iran
In office
4 February 1980 – 21 June 1981
Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini
Prime Minister Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Preceded by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
(as Shah of Iran)
Succeeded by Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
12 November 1979 – 29 November 1979
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Preceded by Ebrahim Yazdi
Succeeded by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
Minister of Finance
In office
27 February 1979 – 12 November 1979
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Preceded by Ali Ardalan
Succeeded by Hossein Namazi
Personal details
Born (1933-03-22) 22 March 1933 (age 81)
Hamadan, Persia[1]
Political party Independent
Other political
affiliations
People's Mujahedin of Iran (1981-1984)
Spouse(s) Ozra Banisadr
Religion Shia Islam
Signature

Seyyad Abolhassan Banisadr (About this sound pronunciation  ;[needs IPA] Persian: سیِّدابوالحسن بنی‌صدر‎; born 22 March 1933) is an Iranian politician, economist and human rights activist who served as the first President of Iran from 4 February 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy until his impeachment on 21 June 1981 by the Parliament of Iran. Prior to his presidency, he was the minister of foreign affairs in the interim government.

Early life and education[edit]

Banisadr was born on 22 March 1933 in Hamedan.[2] His father was an ayatollah and close to Ruhollah Khomeini.[3] He studied finance and economics at the Sorbonne. In 1972, Banisadr's father died and he attended the funeral in Iraq where he first met Ayatollah Khomeini.[4]

Banisadr had participated in the anti-Shah student movement during the early 1960s and was imprisoned twice, and was wounded during an uprising in 1963. He then fled to France. He later joined the Iranian resistance group led by Khomeini, becoming one of his hard-liner advisors.[3][4] Banisadr returned to Iran together with Khomeini as the revolution was beginning in February 1979. He wrote a book on Islamic finance, Eghtesad Tohidi, an Arabic phrase that roughly translates as "The Economics of Monotheism."

Career[edit]

Following the Iranian Revolution, Banisadr became deputy minister of finance on 4 February 1979 and was in office until 27 February 1979. He also became a member of the revolutionary council when Bazargan and others left the council to form the interim government.[5] After the resignation of the interim finance minister Ali Ardalan on 27 February 1979, he was appointed finance minister by then prime minister Mehdi Bazargan. On 12 November 1979, Banisadr was appointed foreign minister to replace Ebrahim Yazdi in the government that was led by Council of Islamic Revolution when the interim government resigned.

Banisadr was elected to a four-year term as president on 25 January 1980, receiving 78.9 percent of the vote in the election, and was inaugurated on 4 February. Khomeini remained the Supreme Leader of Iran with the constitutional authority to dismiss the president. The inaugural ceremonies were held at the hospital where Khomeini was recovering from a heart ailment.[6]

Banisadr was not an Islamic cleric; Khomeini had insisted that clerics should not run for positions in the government. In August and September 1980, Banisadr survived two helicopter crashes near the Iran-Iraq border. During the Iran-Iraq war, Banisadr was appointed acting commander-in-chief by Khomenei on 10 June 1981.[7]

Impeachment[edit]

The Majlis (Iran's Parliament) impeached Banisadr in his absence on 21 June 1981,[8] allegedly because of his moves against the clerics in power, in particular Mohammad Beheshti, then head of the judicial system. Khomeini himself appears to have instigated the impeachment, which he signed the next day.

Even before Khomeini had signed the impeachment papers, the Revolutionary Guard had seized the Presidential buildings and gardens, and imprisoned writers at a newspaper closely tied to Banisadr. Over the next few days, they executed several of his closest friends, including Hossein Navab, Rashid Sadrolhefazi and Manouchehr Massoudi. Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri was among the few people in the government in support of Banisadr, but he was soon stripped of his powers.

At the same time, the Iranian government outlawed all political parties, except the Islamic Republic Party. Government forces arrested and imprisoned members of other parties, such as the People's Mujahedin, Fadaian Khalq, Tudeh, and Paikar.

Banisadr went into hiding for a few days before his removal, and hid in Tehran, protected by the People's Mujahedin (PMOI) . He attempted to organize an alliance of anti-Khomeini factions to retake power, including the PMOI, KDP, and the Fedaian Organisation (Minority), while eschewing any contact with pro-Shah exile groups. He met numerous times while in hiding with PMOI leader Massoud Rajavi to plan an alliance, but after the execution on 27 July of PMOI member Mohammadreza Saadati, Banisadr and Rajavi concluded that it was unsafe to remain in Iran.[9]

In Banisadr's view this impeachment was a coup d'état against the democracy in Iran. In order to settle the political differences in the country President Banisadr had asked for a referendum.

Flight and exile[edit]

Banisadr in 2010

When Banisadr was impeached on 21 June 1981 he had fled and had been hiding in western Iran.[8] On 29 July, Banisadr and Masoud Rajavi were smuggled aboard an Iranian Air Force Boeing 707 piloted by Colonel Behzad Moezzi.[3] It followed a routine flight plan before deviating out of Iranian groundspace to Turkish airspace and eventually landing in Paris.[8]

Banisadr and Rajavi found political asylum in Paris, conditional on abstaining from anti-Khomeini activities in France. This restriction was effectively ignored after France evacuated its embassy in Tehran. Banisadr, Rajavi and the Kurdish Democratic Party set up the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris in October 1981.[3][9] However, Banisadr soon fell out with Rajavi, accusing him of ideologies favouring dictatorship and violence. Furthermore, Banisadr opposed the armed opposition as initiated and sustained by Rajavi, and sought support for Iran during the war with Iraq.

In a 1991 book, Banisadr alleged covert dealing between the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign and leaders in Tehran to prolong the Iran hostage crisis before the 1980 U.S. presidential election.[10]

Banisadr, in a 2008 interview with the Voice of America in the 29th anniversary of the revolution, claimed that Khomenei is directly responsible for the violence originated from the Muslim world and that Khomenei did turn against his promises stated in exile following the revolution.[11] In July 2009, Banisadr publicly denounced the Iranian government's conduct after the disputed presidential election: "Khamenei ordered the fraud in the presidential elections and the ensuing crackdown on protesters." He said the government was "holding on to power solely by means of violence and terror" and accused its leaders of amassing wealth for themselves, to the detriment of other Iranians.[12]

In published articles on the 2009 Iranian election protests, he ascribed the unusually open political climate before the election to the government's great need to prove its legitimacy.[13] However, he said the government had lost all legitimacy. In particular, the spontaneous uprising had cost it its political legitimacy, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's threats  – leading to the violent crackdown  – its religious legitimacy.[10]

Personal life[edit]

As of May 2013, Banisadr lives in Versailles, near Paris, in a villa closely guarded by French police.[12][13] Banisadr's daughter, Firoozeh, married Masoud Rajavi in Paris following their exile.[3][14][15] They later divorced and the alliance between him and Rajavi also ended.[3][14]

Books[edit]

  • The fundamental principles and precepts of Islamic government, Mazda Publishers, 1981
  • (with Jean-Charles Deniau) My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution and Secret Deals With the U.S., Potomac Books (April 1991) ISBN 0-08-040563-0
  • Le Coran et le pouvoir: principes fondamentaux du Coran, Imago, 1993

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abolhasan Bani Sadr Answers
  2. ^ Jessup, John E. (1998). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 57.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sreberny-Mohammadi, Annabelle; Ali Mohammadi (January 1987). "Post-Revolutionary Iranian Exiles: A Study in Impotence". Third World Quarterly 9 (1): 108–129. 
  4. ^ a b Rubin, Barry (1980). Paved with Good Intentions. New York: Penguin Books. p. 308. 
  5. ^ Metz, Helen Chapin. "The Revolution". Phobos. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Facts on File 1980 Yearbook, p. 88
  7. ^ Mozaffari, Mahdi (1993). "Changes in the Iranian political system after Khomeini's death". Political Studies XLI: 611–617. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.1993.tb01659.x. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Sahimi, Mohammad (20 August 2013). "Iran's Bloody Decade of 1980s". Payvand. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Sepehr Zabih (1982). Iran Since the Revolution. Taylor & Francis. pp. 133–136. ISBN 0-7099-3000-3. 
  10. ^ a b Neil A Lewis (7 May 1991). "Bani-Sadr, in U.S., Renews Charges of 1980 Deal". New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Persian TV weekly highlights". Voice of America. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Former Iran president says Khamenei behind election "fraud"". WashingtonTV. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Abolhassan Banisadr (3 July 2009). "The Regime Cares Nothing about Human Rights". Die Welt / Qantara. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Irani, Bahar (19 February 2011). "Indispensability of Examining Sexual Abuses within the Cult of Rajavi". Habilian Association. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Smith, Craig S. (24 September 2005). "Exiled Iranians Try to Foment Revolution From France". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Ardalan
Minister of Finance of Iran
1979
Succeeded by
Hossein Namazi
Preceded by
Ebrahim Yazdi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran
1979
Succeeded by
Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
Preceded by
Mahmoud Taleghani
President of the Council of Islamic Revolution
1979–1980
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi
as Shah of Iran
President of Iran
1980–1981
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Ali Rajai