Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran's first president after the country's 1979 Revolution who fled Tehran after being impeached for challenging the growing power of clerics as the nation became a theocracy, died Saturday. He was 88.
Banisadr would never consolidate his grip on the government he supposedly led as events far beyond his control, like the US Embassy hostage crisis and the invasion of Iran by Iraq, only added to the tumult that followed the revolution.
True power remained firmly wielded by Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, whom Banisadr worked with in exile in France and followed back to Tehran amid the revolution. But Khomeini would toss Banisadr aside after only 16 months in office, sending him fleeing back to Paris, where he would remain for decades.
According to the Associated Press, the family of Banisadr in a statement Saturday said he died at a hospital in Paris after a long illness.