Abolhassan Banisadr

Article

October 18, 2021

Abolhassan Banisadr (pers. ابوالحسن بنی‌صدر, born 22 March 1933 in Hamadan, Iran - 9 October 2021 in Paris, France) was an Iranian politician who was the country's first president since the 1979 revolution. in the early twentieth century and was imprisoned twice. He fled to France and joined the resistance movement led by Ayatollah Khomeini. He returned to Iran with Khomeini in 1979 and served as Deputy Foreign Minister in 1979 and Minister of Economy from 1979-1980. There were ten candidates in the 1980 presidential election; Banisadr was elected. Banisadr was not a priestly man - Khomeini thought that priests should not interfere in secular rule. In August and September 1980, Banisadr survived two helicopter accidents on the Iran-Iraq border. Banisadr and Khomeini quarreled that year over the killing of dissidents. According to Khomeini, Banisadr did not properly manage the war between Iran and Iraq, and Khomeini ousted him from the post of Commander of the Defense Forces. The then Iranian parliament removed Banisadri from office on June 21, 1981. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard occupied the president’s official residence and arrested many journalists who were on Banisadri’s side. Banisadri's closest colleagues, Hossein Navab, Rashid Sadrolhefazi and Manouchehr Massoudi, were also arrested and later executed. Ayatollah Montazeri supported Banisadri, but was arrested and imprisoned. Banisadri's own life was also in danger as he had been issued a search warrant and sentenced to death. Banisadr hid for six weeks before making a surprising turn on July 10, 1981. He drove his mustache and dressed as a woman and sometimes as commander of the Iranian Air Force and managed to get into a Boeing 707 aircraft he ordered to take off from Tehran. The plane took off towards the Turkish border, and soon it was already in Turkish airspace, to which Iranian warplanes were not allowed to fly, from where it flew to Cachan, France. French President Francois Mitterrand gave Banisadri political asylum. This led to the suspension of diplomatic relations between Iran and France. On August 10 of the same year, Iran expelled its French ambassador from Tehran and France expelled the Iranian ambassador in return. Banisadr lived in France for the rest of his life under police protection. He actively wrote against the Iranian regime and published several books. He fell ill in his final years and died at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in October 2021. Sources

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