Ezzatollah Sahabi

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Dr. Ezatollah Sahabi
عزت‌الله سحابی
Ezzatollah Sahabi.jpg
Leader of Nationalist-Religious
In office
8 April 2003 – 31 May 2011
Deputy Hoda Saber
Preceded by New Party
Succeeded by Hoda Saber
Member of Parliament of Iran
In office
28 June 1980 – 2 May 1984
Constituency Tehran
Personal details
Born (1930-05-09)9 May 1930
Tehran, Iran
Died 31 May 2011(2011-05-31) (aged 81)
Tehran, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Political party Nationalist-Religious
Other political
Freedom Movement
Spouse(s) ZarrinDokht Ataei (1960–2011) (his death)
Children Haleh Sahabi & Hamed Sahabi
Religion Shia Islam

Ezzatollah Sahabi (9 May 1930 [1]– 31 May 2011) was an Iranian scholar, humanitarian, democracy activist, politician and former parliament member. He was famous for his political-economical social analysis, and also for the many years of imprisonment in both the pre-revolution and post-revolution eras. He was leader of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition from 2003 until his death in 2011.

Early life[edit]

Sahabi was born on 9 May 1930 in Tehran, Iran. His father, Yadollah Sahabi, was an influential figure in the 1979 Iranian revolution.

He studied mechanical engineering at the Faculty of Engineering Tehran University.

Political career[edit]

He was appointed as a member of Council of Islamic Revolution by Ruhollah Khomeini in 12 February 1979. Mehdi Bazargan, then Prime Minister of Iran, named Sahabi as Head of National Budget Center. He was elected as a member of Parliament in election of 1980.

In later years Sahabi was managing editor of the journal Iran-e Farda (The Iran of Tomorrow), which was banned by the Islamic government,[2] and participated in the 2000 'Iran After the Elections' Conference held in Berlin, for which he was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment.[3] He was well known as the leader of the Iran's Nationalist-Religious political alliance.

Sahabi spent a total of 15 years in prison both before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Sahabi was married to Zahra Ataei, whose maternal uncle was Mehdi Bazargan. They had a son and a daughter. In April 2011, he was hospitalized in Persian Hospital. On 1 May 2011, Sahabi went into a coma after a stroke. On 31 May 2011, he died at age 81 in Modarres Hospital and his funeral was held the next day.[5][6]


Sahabi's funeral was reportedly marred by the removal of his body by plain clothes authorities, the death of his daughter, Haleh Sahabi, from cardiac arrest after being beaten by the plain clothes for holding a photograph of her father. Also the plain clothes heated and arrest of several mourners. According to an unnamed journalist present at the funeral, a "large group" of plainclothes and security forces present at the ceremony "beat a number of mourners", including Haleh Sahabi.[7] Haleh Sahabi reportedly collapsed after trying to stop authorities from removing her father's body. According to Haleh's uncle,[8] the woman died due to "the beating given to her, (which) were severe". However, her son Shamekhi was forced into saying by the government that[9] stated that his mother died "not due to beatings but because of a cardiac arrest".[10] Mourners reportedly arrested at the funeral include Habibollah Peyman, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, political activist Hamid Ahrari, and Hamed Montazeri, the grandson of the late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.[11] Fars news agency denied there had been any clash with police and accused the opposition movement of seeking to politicise the incident.[12]

Hoda Saber

Hoda Saber Hunger Strike and Death[edit]

On 2 June 2011, Saber and another nationalist-religious figure, Amir Khosrow Dalirsani, stopped eating food and later stopped drinking water[3] to protest "the conditions that led to the death of Haleh Sahabi", and the government's crackdown against protesters. Saber was in imprisoned in Ward 350 of Evin Prison at the time. According to Muhammad Sahimi, eyewitnesses have said that during the six hours between the time he first complained of chest pain early Friday morning and when he was finally taken for medical treatment, Saber was screaming loudly in agony, but prison staff paid no attention to him. According to Melli Mazhabi, Saber's cellmates announced their readiness to testify in any court as to how his condition and cries were ignored. Saber died of a heart attack at Tehran's Modarres Hospital on 10 June 2011, aged 52. He was brought to the hospital for surgery to open up his clogged arteries, but the hunger strike had damaged his heart and prevented a successful surgery. Saber's wife, Farideh Jamshidi, told the Guardian: "My husband died two days ago, but we were unaware of his death until today when someone in the hospital informed one of our friends." Farideh Jamshidi, Saber's wife, has been loudly demanding that the hospital turn the body of her husband over to her. His corpse has reportedly been taken to the morgue for an autopsy. Eyewitnesses have said that during the six hours between the time he first complained of chest pain early Friday morning and when he was finally taken for medical treatment, Saber was screaming loudly in agony, but prison staff paid no attention to him. According to Melli Mazhabi, the website of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition, Saber's cellmates announced their readiness to testify in any court as to how his condition and cries were ignored.[4] She said Saber stopped eating food and later stopped drinking water in protest at the death of his fellow dissident Haleh Sahabi, She died of a heart attack during scuffles with security forces at the funeral of her father, Ezatollah Sahabi, the leader of the Nationalist-Religious alliance of politicians, on 1 June. Jamshidi accused prison officials of negligence toward her husband, saying she received reports that they delayed transferring him to hospital for six hours. "Doctors told us later that they could have saved his life by taking him to the hospital earlier. We were supposed to visit him in the prison tomorrow and now we have to visit his dead body in the cemetery."Hours after his death his sister, Firouzeh Saber, complained to Radio Farda of three concerns: "First of all, why was he in prison? He had been in prison without having been sentenced. Second, why did a tragedy such as [Sahabi's] death happen, leading [Saber] to go on hunger strike? And third, why were [authorities] so careless that it took them several hours to take him to the hospital" after he complained of chest pains.[5] On 12 June 2011, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement accusing the government of the Islamic Republic of responsibility for the death of Hoda Saber by neglecting his medical needs and by arbitrarily arresting him in the first place.[6] Iran's Fars news agency denied the family's allegations and said Saber had received medical care before his death. It accused the opposition of politicising his death.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ezatollah Sahabi's birthday
  2. ^ Wright, Robin B. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books? id=25_l12OBeYkC&pg=PA72 The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran]. Random House, Inc. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-375-70630-1. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Ezzatollah Sahabi et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,
  4. ^ Britain asks Iran to investigate death of women's rights activist Haleh Sahabi, Saeed Kamali Dehghan | guardian.co.uk, | 2 June 2011
  5. ^ Ezatollah Sahabi dies
  6. ^ Iranian opposition activist Sahabi dies
  7. ^ Daughter of Deceased Dissident Dies Following Attack During Father’s Burial, 1 June 2011 International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
  8. ^ quoted by Kaleme.com, the website of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi
  9. ^ quoted by Kaleme.com and other media
  10. ^ Iran: Haleh Sahabi dies at funeral of Ezatollah Sahabi, By Mohsen Asgari, bbc.co.uk 1 June 2011.
  11. ^ Mourners At Iranian Dissident Funeral 'Detained'|2 June 2011
  12. ^ Iranian activist dies at father's funeral|Saeed Kamali Dehghan |guardian.co.uk |1 June 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Akbar Etemad
Head of Budget Center
Succeeded by
Abdullah Raesi
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of Nationalist-Religious Coalition
Succeeded by
Alireza Rajaei