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History, Islamic Republic

Islamic Republican Party, Bahonar, Bazargan, faqih, Rajai

In February 1979 Khomeini asked Mehdi Bazargan to form a provisional government. By spring the national solidarity that had been so crucial to the ultimate success of the revolution had begun to erode as various political groups competed for power and influence. The secular parties had no leader of comparable stature to Khomeini and soon were marginalized. Of the many religious groups, the most influential was the Islamic Republican Party (IRP), formed by former students of Khomeini. Its principle opponents were two nonclerical religious parties, the moderate Liberation Movement of Iran, to which Bazargan belonged, and the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MK), which espoused radical programs for the redistribution of wealth and tended to be anticlerical.

Bazargan resigned in November 1979 in protest over the hostage crisis. In December voters approved a new constitution. Khomeini, as faqih, or supreme spiritual leader, held the highest authority in the country. In January 1980 voters elected Abolhassan Bani-Sadr as the first president of the republic. Following parliamentary elections in March, the Majlis and Bani-Sadr could not agree on a presidential nominee for prime minister. In August Bani-Sadr reluctantly accepted the IRP candidate, Mohammad Ali Rajai, as prime minister. The president and prime minister clashed often, and in June 1981 the Majlis dismissed Bani-Sadr. Rajai subsequently was elected president and chose IRP head Mohammad-Javad Bahonar as his prime minister.

In June 1981 the MK, which had clashed frequently with the IRP throughout 1980, launched an armed uprising against the IRP-dominated government. The MK succeeded in killing more than 70 top IRP leaders by bombing the party headquarters in late June. Two months later the MK assassinated both Rajai and Bahonar. By mid-1982 the government had suppressed the party through severe measures that included mass arrests and summary executions of more than 7,000 suspected MK members. In 1983 the government dissolved the communist Tudeh Party, leaving the Liberation Movement of Iran as the only officially recognized party in opposition to the IRP. As internal political stability returned, distinct ideological factions emerged within the IRP. These internal rifts eventually would cause the IRP to dissolve itself in 1987. Meanwhile, elections in October 1981 brought Seyed Ali Khamenei, one of the founders of the IRP and a member of the Majlis, to power as president.

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Article key phrases:

Islamic Republican Party, Bahonar, Bazargan, faqih, Rajai, armed uprising, hostage crisis, Khomeini, redistribution of wealth, parliamentary elections, party headquarters, provisional government, Majlis, mass arrests, ultimate success, IRP, new constitution, presidential nominee, religious groups, MK, elections, founders, protest, prime minister, revolution, opposition, voters, republic, influence, spring, president, power, country, months


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