Abolhassan Bani-Sadr (Farsi: ابوالحسن بنیصدر, also referred to as Abu'l-Hassan Banisadr; born March 22, 1933, died October 9, 2021) was an Iranian politician and economist. He was the first president of the Republic of Iran, but had to go into exile shortly after.
Life and work
Background and early years
Abolhassan Bani-Sadr was the son of Ayatollah Nasrollah Bani-Sadr. His father was a well-known opponent of Reza Shah. The family was in close contact with the Shia Muslim cleric Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini often came to Hamadan in the summers and so Abolhassan became acquainted with him already in his childhood. Abolhassan and Khomeini's sons Ahmad and Mostafa became playmates. Bani-Sadr's passion did not go in the direction of religion, but for politics. During his schooling, he became a supporter of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. After the fall of Mossadegh, he became an opponent of the monarchy. In the 1960s, Abolhassan was active in the student movement that worked to rule the shah. He was imprisoned twice and wounded during an uprising in 1963. Bani-Sadr then fled to France, where he joined an Iranian resistance movement led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Together with Khomeini, he was one of the driving forces behind the Islamic revolution in Iran.
The Iranian Revolution, political records
He returned to Iran with Khomeini at the beginning of the revolution in his home country in February 1979. After the revolution, Bani-Sadr was appointed Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance and Foreign Minister for a short period in 1979. He then became Minister of Finance from 1979 to 1980.
He was the first democratically elected president of Iran when he was elected in January 1980. In August and September of the same year, Bani-Sadr survived two helicopter crashes near the border between Iran and Iraq, which were then in bloody war against each other.
He served as president from 1980 to 1981. He was foreign minister for a short time in 1979 and finance minister from 1979 to 1980. He was a member of the Revolutionary Council. Bani-Sadr was not a mullah, and Ayatollah Khomeini insisted that mullahs should not be elected to state embeder. However, Khomeini later changed his mind about this. After a short time, Bani-Sadr came into conflict with Khomeini, who believed that Bani-Sadr was a weak leader of the Iranian forces in the war against Iraq, which led to Khomeini depriving the president of control over Bani-Sadr was ousted on June 21, 1981 by the Iranian parliament due to conflicts with the mullahs and especially with the head of the country's legal system, Mohammad Beheshti. Khomeini is believed to have persuaded parliament to oust Bani-Sadr. Bani-Sadr had also been opposed to the hostage action at the US Embassy, which began in 1979 and lasted until January 1981.
He settled in France in 1981 when he fell out of favor with Ayatollah Khomeini and fled the country, after first hiding in western Iran. He was critical of the ayatollahs' brutality and their lack of knowledge of governing a country. The background was that Khomeini believed he was leading the Iranian forces in a too weak way during the war against Iraq. After he was deposed, he established the National Iranian Resistance Council in Paris. Beni-Sadr has been the target of several attacks and has been one of the leading representatives of the Iranian opposition.
Christopher de Bellaigue: In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs. A portrait of Iran. From the English by Sigrid Langhaeuser. Published by C.H. Beck, Munich 2006, pp. 99–106. (English original edition: London 2004)