- Ebrahim Yazdi
Ebrahim Yazdi (ابراهیم یزدی; born 1931 in
Qazvin) is the Secretary-Generalof the Freedom Movement of Iran, which has been declared illegal by some Iranian officials. The main missions of the Freedom Movement include guarding against abuses of the constitution and abuses of civil rights, expanding opportunities for the growth of democracy and a multi-party system, as well as safeguarding economic, social and cultural rights for all Iranians.
After the military coup of 1953, which deposed the government of
Muhammad Mussadegh, Yazdi joined the underground National Resistance Movement of Iran, and was active in this organization from 1953-1960. This organization was active against the Shah, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. Yazdi traveled to the United States in 1960 to continue his education and in the US, continued his involvement in political activities against the Shah. He was a founding member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, Abroad, along with Mostafa Chamran, Ali Shariati, and Sadegh Qotbzadehin 1961. Because of these activities, he was unable to return to Iranand remained in the United Statesuntil the Islamic Revolutionof 1979. In 1975, Yazdi was tried in absentia in an Iranian military court and condemned to ten years imprisonment, with orders issued for his arrest upon return to Iran.
Academic, Religious and Political Activity in the US 1957-1978
While in the US, he participated in the founding of several
Muslimand Iranian student associations, including the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada, the Islamic Medical Association of the United States and Canada, and the Islamic Society of Greater Houston.
A long-time resident of
Houston, Texas, Yazdi was a faculty member at the Baylor College of Medicine, with appointments in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology. At Baylor, he was engaged in Cancer research and published several original journal articles in fields of Molecular Oncology. Dr. Yazdi is married to Sourour, originally from Tabriz, and has 6 children.
Islamic Revolution of 1979
Yazdi was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the interim government of
Mehdi Bazargan, until November 6, 1979.
The day after the radical Islamists revolt against the progressive Iranian society, on
February 2, 1979, several foreign embassies in Tehran, including those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslaviawere over-run by groups identifying themselves as leftist revolutionaries. The opinion of the Revolutionary Council, of which Yazdi was a member, was that these attacks may be aimed at creating chaos and preventing the international recognition of the new regime. In the case of the US embassy, the attackers were successful in entering the embassy compound and taking personnel, including the US ambassador, William Sullivan, captive. Yazdi, at the request of Ayatollah Khomeiniand the Revolutionary Council, went to the embassies and resolved the crisis, resulting in the release of embassy personnel and the departure of the attackers.
Yazdi led the Iranian delegation to the 6th Summit of
Non-Aligned Movementin Havana, Cuba, in 1979, and to the United Nations34th General Assemblyin 1979. At both meetings, he delivered speeches explaining the aspirations of the Iranian revolution.
US Embassy Capture and Resignation 1979
November 4of the same year, the US embassy was taken over again by a group calling itself “ Students Following the Line of the Imam(i.e. Ayatollah Khomeini)” and led by Ayatollah Musavi Khoeiniha, who had closer ties to certain revolutionary leaders.
As before, Yazdi was asked to go to the embassy and resolve the crisis. Before Yazdi could take any action, on the evening of the attack, Khomeini appeared on state television and openly endorsed the attack and takeover of the embassy. The entire cabinet of the Interim Government, including Ebrahim Yazdi and
Mehdi Bazargan, resigned in protest the next day. They stated that they opposed the embassy takeover as “contrary to the national interest of Iran”.
The embassy takeover is considered to have been motivated in part by an internal struggle between various factions within the revolutionary leadership, with Yazdi and Bazargan on one side, and more radical clergy on the other. The embassy attackers, in subsequent statements have indicated that one of their primary objectives in the takeover of the US embassy in November 1979 was to force the resignation of Yazdi, Bazargan, and the entire Interim Government.
Islamic Revolutionary Court
Among the areas of conflict between the two factions was the behavior of the Revolutionary Courts and the Revolutionary Committees. Yazdi and Bazargan supported a general amnesty for all members of the Shah’s regime, provided that they cease to act against the revolution. They publicly opposed the secret trials and the summary executions carried out by the Revolutionary Courts, led by
Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhaali. Bazargan and other members of the Interim Government called for fair and open trials for those accused of crimes committed under the Shah’s regime. The radical clerics, on the other hand, stated that the rapid trials and executions were essential to protect the revolution.
After resignation from the government, Yazdi and other members of the
Freedom Movement of Iranran in elections for the first post-revolutionary Islamic Consultative Assemblyor parliament. Yazdi, Bazargan, and four other members of the Freedom Movement ( Mustafa Chamraan, Ahmad Sadr, Hashem Sabbaghian, and Yadollah Sahabi) were elected. They served from 1980 to 1984.
After the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980, Yazdi fully supported the Iranian war effort against the invasion, but opposed the continuation of the war after the Iranian victory in
Khorramshahrin 1983. The war continued for an additional six years. During these six years, Yazdi and others in the Freedom Movement issued several open letters to Ayatollah Khomeini opposing the continuation of the war. These letters and other public statements resulted in the firebombing of Yazdi’s residence in Tehran in 1985, and the arrest and imprisonment of several member of the Freedom Movement.
In subsequent elections in Iran for president, parliament, and city councils, Yazdi and other members of the Freedom Movement filed for candidacy but were barred from running by the
Guardian Council, because of their opposition to policies and actions of the government.
In December 1997, Yazdi was arrested on unknown charges and detained in Evin prison in Tehran. Even after his release, he was barred from leaving the country for many years, and summoned on a regular basis to answer questions before the revolutionary council, with his lawyer, Nobel prize winning Shirin Ebadi. As of 2008 Yazdi is still accused of “attempting to convert the rule of velaii (jurisprudence) into democratic rule.”
Since the death of
Mehdi Bazarganin December, 1994, Ebrahim Yazdi has served as the Secretary General of the Freedom Movement of Iran.
elected books authored by Ebrahim Yazdi (in order of original publication)
Aakhareen Talaash-ha Dar Aakhareen Rooz-ha (Final Efforts, Final Days), Qalam Publications, 1984 (13th Edition, 1999)(a report and analysis on the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979)
Principles of Molecular Genetics (Third Edition), Ettela’aat Publications, Tehran, 2000
Mutational Changes in Generic Materials, Matin Cultural Foundation, Tehran, 1986
Seh Jumhuri (The Three Republics), Jaameye Iranian Publications, 2000(a compilation of political essays and articles by Ebrahim Yazdi published in Iranian journals from 1997-2000)
Khatti Dar Darya (A Line in the Sea), Qalam Publications, Tehran, 2000(a new interpretation of the verse of the Holy Quran on “Marajul Bahrain”)
Khaak-haa-ye Rosi va Paydaayesh-e Hayaat (Clay Minerals and the Origin of Life), Qalam Publicaitons, 2001(a new interpretation of the verses of the Holy Quran on “Teen-e Laatheb”)
Kalbod Shekaafee-ye Towte-e: Barresee-ye Kudetaa-ye Beestohasht-e Mordaad 1332 (The Anatomy of a Plot: An Analysis of the Coup of August 1953), Qalam Publications, 2002(a collection of essays on the US and British led military coup against the national government of Muhammad Mussaddegh)
Docterin-e Amniyyat-e Melli (National Security Doctrine), Sarai Publications, Tehran, 2004(a compilation of political essays on Iranian foreign affairs from 1980-2004)
Jonbesh-e Daaneshju-yi-e Iran 1320-1340 (The Iranian Student Movement from 1941-1961), Qalam Publications, 2004(a history and memoirs of the student movement and activities of Ebrahim Yazdi during this period)
*J D Stempel, Inside the Iranian Revolution, Indiana Univ Press, 1981
*Sadegh Khalkhali, Khateraateh Khalkhaali (Memoirs of Khalkhaali), Sayeh Publications, Tehran, 2003
*Abdolali Bazargan, ed, Moshketaal va Masa’ele Av’valeen Saale Enghelaab Az Zabaane Mohandes Bazargaan (Issues of the First Year of the Revolutions as Explained by Mehdi Bazargan), Tehran, 1981
*Link to MEI website for podcast of speech in April 2008: [http://www.mideasti.org/event/situation-iran]
* [http://www.nehzateazadi.org Official website of Freedom Movement Party ("Nehzat-e Azadi")]
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