Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president after 1979 revolution, dies in Paris

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PARIS – Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president after the 1979 Islamic revolution before fleeing to France died on Saturday in Paris at age of 88.

The news about his death was shared by his wife and children on the deceased’s official website. He took his last breathe at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in the French capital following a prolonged illness.

He had emerged from obscurity to become the first president of Iran in January 1980 with the help of the Islamic clergy.

But he fled to France in the following year after he was impeached for challenging the growing power of clerics in the country.

In announcing the death, his family wrote on his website that Bani-Sadr had “defended freedom in the face of new tyranny and oppression in the name of religion”.

He would be laid to rest in Versailles, the Paris suburb where he lived during his exile, his assistant told international media.

In an interview with Reuters in 2019, the former president said that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had betrayed the principles of the revolution after sweeping to power in 1979, adding this had left a “very bitter” taste among some of those who had returned with him to Tehran in triumph.

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