Iranian dissident and former foreign minister dies in Turkey

Iranian dissident and former foreign minister dies in Turkey
2 min read
28 August, 2017
Ebrahim Yazdi became a strong opponent of the Iranian regime after resigning from his post in government in 1979, when radical students seized the US embassy.
Yazdi became one of Iran's best known dissidents [AFP]

Iranian opposition figure Ebrahim Yazdi has died in Turkey aged 86, Tehran media has reported.

He died in the resort city of Izmir late Sunday following surgery in Turkey for pacreatic cancer, after his medical visa request was refused by the US. 

The former foreign minister's body will be returned to Iran and buried in his home town Qazvin.

Yazdi was Iran's first foreign minister after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, serving in Mehdi Bazargan's provisional government.

Previously, Yazdi was close to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, working as an adviser to the imam when he went into exile in France.

Yazdi also spent time in the US opposing the shah's government until it was overthrown in 1979.

After briefly serving in government, Yazdi resigned and went into opposition following the November 1979 American hostage crisis, when radical students took over the US embassy in Tehran.

Yazdi became associated with reformist elements and founded the banned Freedom Movement of Iran political party.

He was arrested several times after the re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, when the Iranian regime clamped down violently on the so called Green Movement. 

In 2011 he was sentenced to eight years in jail after refusing to represent himself in court, but released shortly after for health reasons.

He kept a relatively low profile since then, but continued to oppose the "despotic regime" in place in Iran, Radio Free Europe reported.

More recently, he backed President Hassan Rouhani's bid for reelection this year.

Agencies contributed to this story.