Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr attends a symposium in Vienna, Austria, on July 6, 2009. He died Saturday in Paris. File Photo by Georg Hochmuth/EPA-EFE
Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of Iran after the country's revolution, died Saturday in France, his family announced. He was 88.
A statement on his website said he died "after a long battle with illness" in Paris' Salpêtrière hospital.
Bani-Sadr served as president for less than two years, 1980-81, at the conclusion of the Iranian Revolution. He was the first person elected to lead the country after the abolishment of the monarchy.
He was educated in Europe and opposed the rule of the shahs, helping to overthrow Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. He was an ally of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the revolution.
Bani-Sadr's presidency was tarnished by the hostage crisis involving U.S. diplomats as well as Iraq's invasion of Iran.
He was impeached in 1981 after attempting to overthrow the country's clerics. He opposed their participation in the country's politics.
After his impeachment, Bani-Sadr fled to France where he lived until his death.
Bani-Sadr's family issued a statement saying he "defended freedom in the face of new tyranny and oppression in the name of religion," according to the BBC.
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