Mehdi Bazargan

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Mehdi Bazargan
Portrait of Mehdi Bazargan - 70s.jpg
46th Prime Minister of Iran
In office
4 February 1979 6 November 1979 [lower-alpha 1]
Deputy Ebrahim Yazdi
Mostafa Chamran
Hashem Sabbaghian
Abbas Amir-Entezam
Sadeq Tabatabaei
Preceded by Shapour Bakhtiar
Succeeded by Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Acting
In office
1 April 1979 12 April 1979
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded by Karim Sanjabi
Succeeded by Ebrahim Yazdi
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 28 May 1984
Constituency Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat
Majority1,447,316 (68%)
Personal details
Born
Mehdi Bazargan

1 September 1907
Tehran, Iran
Died20 January 1995(1995-01-20) (aged 87)
Zurich, Switzerland
Resting place Qom, Iran
NationalityIranian
Political party
Spouse(s)Malak Tabatabayi
Children5, including Abdolali
Alma mater
Signature Mehdi Bazargan signature.svg
  1. The office was disputed between Bazargan and Shapour Bakhtiar from 4 February to 11 February 1979.

Mehdi Bazargan (Persian : مهدی بازرگان; 1 September 1907 – 20 January 1995) was an 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 resigned his position as prime minister in November 1979, in protest at the US Embassy takeover and as an acknowledgement of his government's failure in preventing it. [2]

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 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, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

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.

Contents

He was the head of the first engineering department of University of Tehran. A well-respected religious intellectual, known for his honesty [3] and expertise in the Islamic and secular sciences, he is credited with being one of the founders of the contemporary intellectual movement in Iran.

University of Tehran university in Iran

University of Tehran is the oldest modern university located in Tehran, Iran. It is also one of the most prestigious universities in the Middle East. Based on its historical, socio-cultural, and political pedigree, as well as its research and teaching profile, UT has been nicknamed "The mother university of Iran". It has been ranked as one of the best universities in the Middle East in national and international rankings and among the top universities in the world. It is also the premier knowledge producing institute among all OIC countries. The university offers 111 bachelor's degree programs, 177 master's degree programs, and 156 Ph.D. programs. Many of the departments were absorbed into the University of Tehran from the Dar al-Funun established in 1851 and the Tehran School of Political Sciences established in 1899.

Early life and education

A young Bazargan Mehdi Bazargan.jpg
A young Bazargan

Bazargan was born into an Azerbaijani family [4] [5] in Tehran on 1 September 1907. [6] [7] His father, Hajj Abbasqoli Tabrizi (died 1954) was a self-made merchant and a religious activist in Bazaar guilds. [6]

Iranian Azerbaijanis, also known as Iranian Azeris, Iranian Turks, Persian Turks, Azeri Turks, Azerbaijani Turks or Persian Azerbaijanis, are Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity who may speak the Azerbaijani language as their first language.

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.4 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

Bazargan went to France to receive university education through an Iranian government scholarship during the reign of Reza Shah. [8] He attended Lycée Georges Clemenceau in Nantes and was a classmate of Abdollah Riazi. Bazargan then studied thermodynamics and engineering at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures (École Centrale Paris). [9] [10] [11]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Lycée Georges Clemenceau (Nantes) public secondary school in Nantes, France

The Lycée Georges Clemenceau, French pronunciation: ​[lise ʒɔʁʒ klemɑ̃so], usually called Lycée Clemenceau is a public secondary school located in Nantes, France, formerly known as the Lycée of Nantes. Inaugurated in 1808, it is the oldest secondary school of the town of Nantes and in the department of Loire-Atlantique.

Nantes Prefecture and commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Nantes is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km (31 mi) from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 303,382 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 950,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis.

Career

After his graduation, Bazargan became the head of the first engineering department at Tehran University in the late 1940s. He was a deputy minister under Premier Mohammad Mosaddegh in the 1950s. [12] Bazargan served as the first Iranian head of the National Iranian Oil Company under the administration of Prime Minister Mosaddegh. [13]

Mohammad Mosaddegh Prime Minister of Iran in the 1950s

Mohammad Mosaddegh was the 35th prime minister of Iran, holding office from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6.

National Iranian Oil Company Oil And Gas company

The National Iranian Oil Company, a government-owned corporation under the direction of the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran, is a national oil and natural gas producer and distributor headquartered in Tehran. It was established in 1948. NIOC ranks as the world's second largest oil company, after Saudi Arabia's state-owned Aramco.

Bazargan co-founded the Liberation Movement of Iran in 1961, [12] 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.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

Iranian Revolution

On 4 February 1979, Bazargan was appointed prime minister of Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini. [14] [15] 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. [16] 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. Seeing his government's lack of power, in March 1979, he submitted his resignation to Ayatollah Khomeini. [17] Khomeini did not accept his resignation, [17] and in April 1979, he and his cabinet members escaped an assassination attempt. [18]

Bazargan resigned, along with his cabinet, on 4 November 1979, following the US Embassy takeover and hostage-taking. [2] [19] 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 sworn in as prime minister behind Ruhollah Khomeini in the absence of Parliament Ruhollah Khomeini and Mehdi Bazargan.jpg
Bazargan sworn in as prime minister behind Ruhollah Khomeini in the absence of Parliament

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? [20]

Bazargan with Yasser Arafat Sabaghian Bazargan Arafat Sahabi.jpg
Bazargan with Yasser Arafat

His term as a member of parliament lasted until 1984. [5] During his term, he served as a lawmaker of the Iran Freedom Movement, which he had founded in 1961, and which was abolished in 1990. [5] In 1985, the Council of Guardians denied Bazargan's petition to run for president.

Views

Bazargan is a respected figure within the ranks of modern Muslim thinkers, well known as a representative of liberal-democratic Islamic thought [21] and a thinker who emphasized the necessity of constitutional and democratic policies. [22] 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. [23] 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. [24] Bazargan believed that there is a link and relation between politics and religion, but did not believe in hokumat.[ citation needed ]

Attacks

During the Pahlavi era, Bazargan's house in Tehran was bombed on 8 April 1978. [25] The underground committee for revenge, a state-financed organization, proclaimed the responsibility of the bombing. [25]

Laws of social evolution

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.

Death

Bazargan died of a heart attack on 20 January 1995 in Switzerland. [5] He died at a hospital in Zurich after collapsing at the airport. [5] He was travelling to the United States for heart surgery. [5]

Personal life

Bazargan married Malak Tabatabai in 1939. [6] They had five children, two sons and three daughters. [6]

See also

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References

  1. Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton University Press. pp. 190–191. ISBN   0-691-10134-5.
  2. 1 2 Godsel, Geoffrey (9 November 1979). "Bazargan resignation increases Iran risks to American hostages". The Deseret News. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  3. "World: Yankee, We've Come to Do You In". Time. 26 February 1979.
  4. The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism: The Nation-State at Bay?, Crawford Young, p. 127, 1993
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Mehdi Bazargan, Former Iran Premier, Dies". The New York Times. 21 January 1995. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Barzin, Saeed (21 January 1995). "Mehdi Bazargan". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  7. Biography: Mehdi Bazargan BBC Persian 2009
  8. Vakili Zad, Cyrus (Spring 1990). "Organization, Leadership and Revolution: Religiously-Oriented Opposition in the Iranian Revolution of 1978–1979". Conflict Quarterly: 5–25. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  9. Sahimi, Muhammad (6 August 2009). "If I Confess..." Tehran Bureau via PBS. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  10. Boroujerdi, Mehrzad (1996). Iranian Intellectuals and the West: The Tormented Triumph of Nativism. Syracuse University Press. p. 190. ISBN   9780815604334 . Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  11. "Mehdi Bazargan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  12. 1 2 "Iran's Political Elite". United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  13. Kinzer, Stephen (2003). All the Shah's men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 93–94. ISBN   0471265179.
  14. Martin, Richard C., ed. (2003). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. 1. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 106. ISBN   9780028656045.
  15. Nikou, Semira N. "Timeline of Iran's Political Events". United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  16. Abrahamian, Ervand (2008). History of Modern Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9780521821391.
  17. 1 2 "Bazargan talked out of resigning". The Palm Beach Post. Tehran. 10 March 1979. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  18. "Bazargan escapes assassination try". The Rock Hill Herald. Tehran. AP. 23 April 1979. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  19. Rakel, Eva Patricia (2008). The Iranian Political elite, state and society relations, and foreign relations since the Islamic revolution. University of Amsterdam.
  20. "Khomenin's grip appears at its tightest". The New York Times. 21 November 1982.
  21. Mahdavi, Mojtaba (2004). "Islamic Forces of the Iranian Revolution: A Critique of Cultural Essentialism". Iran Analysis Quarterly. 2 (2).
  22. Barzin, Saeed (1994). "Constitutionalism and Democracy in the Religious Ideology of Mehdi Bazargan". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 21 (1): 85. doi:10.1080/13530199408705593. JSTOR   195568.
  23. Behrooz, Maziar (October 1994). "Factionalism in Iran under Khomeini". Middle Eastern Studies. 27 (4): 597–614. doi:10.1080/00263209108700879. JSTOR   4283464.
  24. Leicht, Justus (20 November 2001). "Mass trial of opposition group in Iran". World Socialist Website.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Shapour Bakhtiar
Prime Minister of Iran
1979
Succeeded by
Mohammad Ali Rajai
Preceded by
Karim Sanjabi
Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran
1979
Succeeded by
Ebrahim Yazdi
Party political offices
Preceded by
None
Secretary-General of Freedom Movement of Iran
1961–1995
Succeeded by
Ebrahim Yazdi