Abolhassan Banisadr

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Abolhassan Banisadr
Abolhassan Banisadr portrait 1980 2.jpg
Banisadr portrait in 1980
1st President of Iran
In office
5 February 1980 20 June 1981
Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini
Prime Minister Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Head of Council of the Islamic Revolution
In office
7 February 1980 [1]  20 July 1980
Preceded by Mohammad Beheshti [1]
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
12 November 1979 29 November 1979
Appointed by Council of the Revolution
Preceded by Ebrahim Yazdi
Succeeded by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
Minister of Finance
In office
12 November 1979 11 March 1980
Appointed by Council of the Revolution
Preceded byAli Ardalan
Succeeded by Hossein Namazi
Member of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution
In office
15 August 1979 15 November 1979
Constituency Tehran Province
Majority1,752,816 (69.4%)
Personal details
Born (1933-03-22) 22 March 1933 (age 86)
Hamadan, Iran [2]
Political party Independent
Other political
Spouse(s)Ozra Hosseini (m. 1961)
Signature Abulhassan Banisadr signature.svg

Seyyed Abolhassan Banisadr ( Loudspeaker.svg pronunciation  ;[ needs IPA ] Persian : سید ابوالحسن بنی‌صدر; born 22 March 1933) is an Iranian politician. He was the first President of Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution abolished the monarchy, serving from 4 February 1980 until he was impeached by parliament on 20 June 1981. Prior to his presidency, he was the minister of foreign affairs in the interim government. He has resided for many years in France where he co-founded the National Council of Resistance of Iran. At age 86, Banisadr is currently the oldest living former Iranian President.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.


Early life and education

Banisadr was born on 22 March 1933 in Hamadān. [4] His father was an ayatollah and close to Ruhollah Khomeini. [5] 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. [6]

Hamadan City in Iran

Hamadān or Hamedān is the capital city of Hamadan Province of Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 473,149, in 127,812 families.

Ruhollah Khomeini 20th-century Iranian religious leader and politician

Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.

University of Paris former university in Paris, France

The University of Paris, metonymically known as the Sorbonne, was a university in Paris, France, active 1150–1793, and 1806–1970.

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. [5] [6] Banisadr returned to Iran together with Khomeini as the revolution was beginning in February 1979. He wrote a book on Islamic finance, Eghtesad Tohidi, which roughly translates as "The Economics of Monotheism."

Tawhid Muslims believe that God is one in himself and his qualities and actions

Tawhid is the indivisible oneness concept of monotheism in Islam. Tawhid is the religion's central and single-most important concept, upon which a Muslim's entire faith rests. It unequivocally holds that God is One and Single ; therefore, the Islamic belief in God is considered Unitarian."


Banisadr (Left) inaugurated as first President of Iran in 1980. Mohammad Beheshti is on the right and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at his back. Banisadr beheshti.jpg
Banisadr (Left) inaugurated as first President of Iran in 1980. Mohammad Beheshti is on the right and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at his back.

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. [7] 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 the Islamic Revolution when the interim government resigned.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

Interim Government of Iran government of Iran from February to November 1979

The Interim Government of Iran was the first government established in Iran after the Iranian Revolution, and the first nominal republic established in Iran after 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. The regime was headed by Mehdi Bazargan, one of the members of the Freedom Movement of Iran, and formed on the order of Ruhollah Khomeini on 4 February 1979. From 4 February to 11 February, Bazargan and Shapour Bakhtiar, the Shah's last Prime Minister, both claimed to be the legitimate prime minister; Bakhtiar fled on 11 February. Mehdi Bazargan was the prime minister of the interim government and introduced a seven-member cabinet on 14 February 1979. Ebrahim Yazdi was elected as the Foreign Minister.

Prime Minister of Iran former a political post in Iran

The Prime Minister of Iran was a political post in Iran that had existed during several different periods of time starting with the Qajar era until its most recent revival from 1979 to 1989 following the Iranian Revolution.

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. [8]

1980 Iranian presidential election

The First Iranian presidential election was held on January 25, 1980, one year after the Iranian Revolution when the Council of Islamic Revolution was in power.

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 Khomeini on 10 June 1981. [9]

Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, universal religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

Helicopter Type of rotor craft in which lift and thrust are supplied by rotors

A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward, and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL aircraft cannot perform.

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.


The Majlis (Iran's Parliament) impeached Banisadr in his absence on 21 June 1981, [10] allegedly because of his moves against the clerics in power, [11] in particular Mohammad Beheshti, then head of the judicial system. Khomeini himself appears to have instigated the impeachment, which he signed the next day. According to Katzman, Banisadr believed the clerics should not directly govern Iran and was perceived as supporting the People's Mujahedin of Iran. [12]

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 Republican 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 monarchist 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. [13]

In Banisadr's view, this impeachment was a coup d'état against democracy in Iran. In order to settle the political differences in the country, President Banisadr had asked for a referendum. [14]

Flight and exile

Banisadr in 2010 Abu l-Hasan Banisadr IMG 2044 edit.jpg
Banisadr in 2010

When Banisadr was impeached on 21 June 1981 he had fled and had been hiding in western Iran. [10] On 29 July, Banisadr and Massoud Rajavi were smuggled aboard an Iranian Air Force Boeing 707 piloted by Colonel Behzad Moezzi. [5] It followed a routine flight plan before deviating out of Iranian groundspace to Turkish airspace and eventually landing in Paris. [10]

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. [5] [13] 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.

My Turn to Speak

In 1991, Banisadr released an English translation of his 1989 text My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution and Secret Deals with the U.S. [15] In the book, Banisadr alleged covert dealings between the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign and leaders in Tehran to prolong the Iran hostage crisis before the 1980 United States presidential election. [16] He also claimed that Henry Kissinger plotted to set up a Palestinian state in the Iranian province of Khuzestan and that Zbigniew Brzezinski conspired with Saddam Hussein to plot Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran. [15]

Lloyd Grove of The Washington Post wrote: "The book is not what normally passes for a bestseller. Cobbled together from a series of interviews conducted by French journalist Jean-Charles Deniau, it is never merely direct when it can be enigmatic, never just simple when it can be labyrinthine." [17] In a review for Foreign Affairs , William B. Quandt described the book as "a rambling, self-serving series of reminiscences" and "long on sensational allegations and devoid of documentation that might lend credence to Bani-Sadr's claims." [15] Kirkus Reviews called it "an interesting — though frequently incredible and consistently self-serving-memoir" and said "frequent sensational accusations render his tale an eccentric, implausible commentary on the tragic folly of the Iranian Revolution." [18]


Banisadr, in a 2008 interview with the Voice of America on the 29th anniversary of the revolution, claimed that Khomeini is directly responsible for the violence originated from the Muslim world and that the promises Khomeini made in exile were broken after the revolution. [19] 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. [20]

In published articles on the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, he ascribed the unusually-open political climate before the election to the government's great need to prove its legitimacy. [21] However, he said the government had lost all legitimacy. The spontaneous uprising had cost the government its political legitimacy, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's threats led to the violent crackdown, which cost the government its religious legitimacy.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Banisadr lives in Versailles, near Paris, in a villa closely guarded by French police. [20] [21] Banisadr's daughter, Firoozeh, married Massoud Rajavi in Paris following their exile. [5] [22] [23] They later divorced and the alliance between him and Rajavi also ended. [5] [22]


See also

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The following lists events that happened during 1981 in Iran.


  1. 1 2 Barseghian, Serge (February 2008). "مجادلات دوره مصدق به شورای انقلاب کشیده شد". Shahrvand Weekly. Institute for humanities and cultural studies (36).
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Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Ardalan
Minister of Finance of Iran
Succeeded by
Hossein Namazi
Preceded by
Ebrahim Yazdi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran (Acting)
Succeeded by
Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
Preceded by
Mohammad Beheshti
President of the Council of Islamic Revolution
Succeeded by
Position abolished
New title
Position established
President of Iran
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Military offices
Title last held by
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Ruhollah Khomeini