Persian: مهدی بازرگان
Azerbaijani: Mehdi Bazərgan
|75th Prime Minister of Iran
1st Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic
4 February 1979 – 6 November 1979
|Preceded by||Shapour Bakhtiar|
|Succeeded by||Mohammad-Ali Rajai|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
1 April 1979 – 12 April 1979
|Preceded by||Karim Sanjabi|
|Succeeded by||Ebrahim Yazdi|
|Member of Parliament of Iran|
4 May 1980 – 6 May 1984
1 September 1908|
Bazargan, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran
|Died||20 January 1995
|Political party||Freedom Movement|
|Spouse(s)||Malak Tabatabai (1939–1995, his death)|
|Alma mater||École Centrale Paris|
Mehdi Bazargan (Persian: مهدی بازرگان; Azerbaijani: Mehdi Bazərgan; 1 September 1908 – 20 January 1995) was a prominent Iranian scholar, academic, long-time pro-democracy activist and head of Iran's interim government, making him Iran's first prime minister after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He was the head of the first engineering department of University of Tehran. A well-respected religious intellectual, known for his honesty and expertise in the Islamic and secular sciences, he is credited with being one of the founders of the contemporary intellectual movement in Iran.
Early life and education
Bazargan was born into an Azeri family in Tehran on 1 September 1908. His father, Hajj Abbasquoli Tabrizi (died 1954) was a self-made merchant and a religious activist in Bazaar guilds.
Bazargan was sent by the government to France to receive university education as a scholar of the Reza Shah scholarship fund. He studied thermodynamics and engineering at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris.
After his graduation, Bazargan voluntarily joined the French army and fought against Nazi Germany. Bazargan then came back from France and became the head of the first engineering department at Tehran University in the late 1940s. In 1951, with the leadership of Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian parliament nationalized the Iranian oil industry (National Iranian Oil Company) and removed it from British control. Bazargan served as the first Iranian head of the National Iranian Oil Company under the administration of Prime Minister Mossadegh. He was also a deputy minister in the cabinet.
Bazargan co-founded the Liberation Movement of Iran in 1961, a party similar in its program to Mossadegh's National Front. Although he accepted the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as the legitimate head of state, he was jailed several times on political grounds.
On 4 February 1979, Bazargan was appointed prime minister of Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini. He was seen as one of the democratic and liberal figureheads of the revolution who came into conflict with the more radical religious leaders – including Khomeini himself – as the revolution progressed. Although pious, Bazargan initially disputed the name Islamic Republic, wanting an Islamic Democratic Republic. He had also been a supporter of the original (non-theocratic) revolutionary draft constitution, and opposed the Assembly of Experts for Constitution and the constitution they wrote that was eventually adopted as Iran's constitution. In March 1979, he submitted his resignation due to his government's lack of power to Ayatollah Khomeini. However, Khomeini did not accept his resignation. In April 1979, he and the members of cabinet escaped an assassination attempt.
Bazargan resigned along with his cabinet on 4 November 1979 following the US Embassy takeover and hostage-taking. His resignation was considered a protest against the hostage-taking and a recognition of his government's inability to free the hostages, but it was also clear that his hopes for liberal democracy and an accommodation with the West would not prevail.
Bazargan continued in Iranian politics as a member of the first Parliament (Majles) of the newly formed Islamic Republic. He openly opposed Iran's cultural revolution and continued to advocate civil rule and democracy. In November 1982, he expressed his frustration with the direction the Islamic Revolution had taken in an open letter to the then speaker of parliament Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The government has created an atmosphere of terror, fear, revenge and national disintegration. ... What has the ruling elite done in nearly four years, besides bringing death and destruction, packing the prisons and the cemeteries in every city, creating long queues, shortages, high prices, unemployment, poverty, homeless people, repetitious slogans and a dark future?
His term as a member of parliament lasted until 1984. During his term, he served as a lawmaker of the Iran Freedom Movement, which he had founded in 1961 and abolished in 1990. In 1985, the Council of Guardians denied Bazargan's petition to run for president.
Bazargan is considered to be a respected figure within the ranks of modern Muslim thinkers, well known as a representative of liberal-democratic Islamic thought and a thinker who emphasized the necessity of constitutional and democratic policies. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution Bazargan led a faction that opposed the Revolutionary Council dominated by the Islamic Republican Party and personalities such as Ayatollah Mohammad Hossein Beheshti. He opposed the continuation of the Iran-Iraq war and the involvement of clerics in all aspects of politics, economy and society. Consequently, he faced harassment from militants and young revolutionaries within Iran.
During the Pahlavi era, Bazargan's house in Tehran was bombed on 8 April 1978. The underground committee for revenge, a state-financed organization, proclaimed the responsibility of the bombing.
Bazargan is noted for having done some of the first work in human thermodynamics, as found in his 1946 chapter “A Physiological Analysis of Human Thermodynamics” and his 1956 book Love and Worship: Human Thermodynamics, the latter of which being written while in prison, in which he attempted to show that religion and worship are a byproduct of evolution, as explained in English naturalist Charles Darwin's 1859 Origin of Species, and that the true laws of society are based on the laws of thermodynamics.
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