Mir-Hossein Mousavi - Prime Ministership

Prime Ministership

See also: Government of Mir-Hossein Mousavi (1981-1989)

In August 1981, President Mohammad-Ali Rajai and Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar were assassinated in an explosion. Ali Khamenei was then elected as the third president of Iran in the Iranian presidential election, October 1981. He put forward Ali Akbar Velayati as his prime minister, but the Iranian parliament did not give him the vote of confidence, and he was defeated with a vote of 80 to 74. Although Khamenei had strong reservations with Mousavi, as a compromise with the left-leaning parliament, agreed to offer Mousavi for the post of premier. On 28 October 1981, with the approval of Khomeini, the parliament approved Mousavi with a vote of 115 to 39 to become the 79th prime minister of Iran on 31 October 1981.

The conflicts between Mousavi, who belonged to the left wing of the Islamic Republic, with Ali Khamenei (the current leader of Iran), who belonged to the right wing of the Islamic Republic, continued during their eight years of shared governance. However, an escalation in conflicts between the two led to Mousavi's resignation shortly after the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. As the prime minister, Mousavi had the full backing of Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader, and he refused to accept his resignation. While his government was viewed as somewhat liberal, he was still under the pressure of hardliners, though Khomeini generally protected Mousavi from the conservatives and gave him a free rein in deciding actions for the economy. However, his involvement in security matters remained less clear, and it was disputed whether or not Mousavi was involved in the killing of thousands of dissidents and minorities in Kurdistan and Mazandaran during this time. It has generally been accepted that Mousavi and Mohsen Rezaee (who was in charge of the Revolutionary Guards during this time) have never been close, though he was in charge of foreign operations, particularly in Lebanon.

Mousavi's premiership coincided with the Iran-Iraq war. He guided the country through its war with Iraq, and earned popular acclaim for his stewardship of the national economy. He pioneered a bond-based economy, which many believe was responsible for a fair distribution of goods among the people throughout the Iran-Iraq war. Many analysts praise his handling of Iran's economy, his civil and economic leadership during the Iran-Iraq War, and his efforts to end Iran's international isolation. Others remember him as being "unpredictable" and less able to navigate Iran's labyrinthine political system than were his rivals. In 1986, Mousavi played a great role in the Iran-Contra affair and secret negotiations and dealing with USA on helping them free the American hostages in Lebanon, in return for sale of the American weapons and spare-parts that Iran's army badly needed for Iran-Iraq war.

Shortly after the end of Iran-Iraq war on 20 August 1988, Ruhollah Khomeini died, and Ali Khamenei was elected as the new Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts. Following his death, Mousavi and his fellow left-wingers lost their main source of support within the establishment. During the parliament hearing on post-war reconstruction plans, Mousavi had heated arguments with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the speaker of Iran's parliament at the time, over Rafsanjani's suggestion that Iran accept the offer of western countries to help with post-war reconstruction.

On 28 July 1989, the constitution was amended and approved by Iranian voters in a national referendum with a 97% yes vote. At this time, Mehdi Karrubi had been elected as the new speaker of the parliament, to whom the amended constitution was declared. One of these amendments abolished the position of Prime Minister. Rafsanjani was elected as the fourth president of Iran on 28 July 1989 and became the president on 3 August 1989. Mousavi's premiership ended on the same date. Mousavi was not invited to be a participant in the new government headed by Rafsanjani and disappeared from the public sphere.

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