Abolhassan Banisadr, Irans first president after the Islamic Revolution, passed away at the age of 88. He became president in the spring of 1980, at a time that was tumultuous for Iran.
During Banisadrs presidency, the reins remained firmly in the hands of ayatollah Khomeini. The two had known each other for a long time: the cleric had been taken care of by Banisadr when the ayatollah was exiled to France in 1978.
From a French village, Khomeini and Banisadr worked to overthrow the Shahs reign. After the fall of the regime, the two returned to Iran in 1979. Khomeini came to power and was able to gradually implement his fundamentalist agenda.
Hostage at U.S. Embassy
Banisadr later became head of the State Department for a short time, just a few days after the start of hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran. After eighteen days he had to leave: Khomeini saw nothing in Banisadrs negotiations and put a hardliner in his place. It wasnt the last conflict between the two.
In the spring of 1980, Banisadr won the presidential election by three quarters of the vote. Khomeini had previously determined that a cleric could not become president.
Deposed by Parliament
Banisadr opposed the growing power of the ayatollahs, to the discontent of Khomeini and his supporters. Confidence was further afloat due to setbacks in the Iraq-Iran War and complaints from the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Banisadr was deposed after sixteen months by the parliament, which was on the hand of the ayatollah.
Banisadr hoped that the 1979 revolution would lead to more democracy in Iran and later said that he felt that Khomeini had betrayed the principles of the revolution. “I was like a kid who saw his father slowly turn into an alcoholic. Power was the drug.”
Banisadr fled to France not long after his impeachment. He got off the plane without his signature mustache, which led to speculations that he had taken his legs in disguise as a woman.
Banisadr lived in France for the rest of his life. Fearing an attack on his life, he was under police surveillance. The former president had been ill for a long time and died in a hospital in Paris.