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Abolhassan Banisadr

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Abolhassan Banisadr

Abolhassan Banisadr (ابوالحسن بنی‌صدر; born March 22, 1933) was the first elected President of Iran after the 1979 revolution.

Banisadr had participated in the anti-Shah student movement during the early 1960s, was imprisoned twice and was wounded during an uprising in 1963. He then fled to France and joined the Iranian resistance group led by Ayatollah Khomeini. Banisadr returned to Iran together with Khomeini as the revolution was beginning in February 1979. He was the deputy economy and finance minister and acting foreign minister briefly during 1979, and the finance minister from 1979 to 1980.

He was elected President in early 1980, when he ran in a competitive election against Ahmad Madani, Hassan Habibi, Sadegh Tabatabaee, Dariush Forouhar, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Kazem Sami, Mohammad Makri, Hassan Ghafourifard, and Hassan Ayat.

Banisadr was not an Islamic cleric: Ayatollah Khomeini had insisted that clerics should not run for positions in the government (he changed his mind later). In August and September, 1980, Banisadr survived two helicopter crashes near the Iranian border with Iraq.

Banisadr soon had a falling-out with Ayatollah Khomeini. Accusing Banisadr of a weak performance in leading Iranian troops in the Iran-Iraq War, Khomeini forever stripped the Presidency from holding the power of commander-in-chief and instead assigned it to his own office on June 10, 1980.

Banisadr was impeached on June 21, 1981 by the Iranian parliament, allegedly because of his moves against the clerics in power, most specifically Mohammad Beheshti, head of judicial system at the time. Ayatollah Khomeini appears to have instigated the impeachment, which he signed the next day, on June 22.

Banisadr soon fled Iran amidst death threats by hardline supporters of Khomeini, and returned to France, where (as of 2005) he still lives.

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