Banisadr was a great admirer of Dr. Mussadaq who was Iran’s elected nationalist prime minister in the early 1950s until he was deposed in a coup directed by the CIA. He sought to revive Dr. Mussadaq’s political bloc, the National Front, and infuse it with moderate Islam to create a new form of government.
In the 1970s Banisadr met Ayatollah Khomeini. They were reunited in Paris after Ayatollah was exiled there in 1978. In one of the 20th century’s most spectacular political collapses, the Shah fled Iran on 16 January 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini, who directed the revolution from exile, returned home two weeks later.
The government that was installed approved Banisadr deputy minister of finance and finally minister of foreign affairs. In the first weeks in power Banisadr brought order to the shamble that had left by the collapse of the Shah’s regime. He easily won the presidential election in 1980.
After the war with Iraq broke out, militants criticised Banisadr for relying more on the regular army, which they associated with the Shah’s monarchy, than on revolutionary guards and other political forces. The differences boiled over to a point that on 10 June 1981 he was removed from his post as commander in chief. The parliament ruled him “politically incompetent” president and voted to impeach him.
Six weeks later, Banisadr slipped out of the country with his family and arrived in Paris where he lived to the rest of his life.
Abulhassan Banisadr was born into a family of landowners in Hamadan. He studied law, theology and sociology at Tehran University. In 1960s he moved to Paris and studied at the Sorbonne. He emerged into prominence in the student movement and led protests against the monarchy of Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin