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Iran’s first President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr dies in Paris

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who became Iran’s first president after the 1979 Islamic revolution before fleeing into exile in France, died on Saturday aged 88, Reuters reports.

He died at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris following a long illness, his wife and children said on Bani-Sadr’s official website.

Bani-Sadr had emerged from obscurity to become Iran’s first president in January 1980 with the help of the Islamic clergy.

But after a power struggle with radical clerics he fled the following year to France, where he spent the rest of his life.

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

His family would like him to be buried in Versailles, the Paris suburb where he lived during his exile, his longstanding assistant, Paknejad Jamaledin, told Reuters by telephone.

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