Ezzatollah Sahabi, the head of Iran’s Nationalist-Religious Coalition, died this morning at the age of 81 in Moddares hospital in Tehran.
Sahabi had gone into coma after a brain haemorrhage occurred during an operation to repair a bone fracture operation.
His daughter, Haleh Sahabi, who was sentenced to two years in prison for her involvement in the post-election protests of 2009, was not allowed a final visit with her father.
Ezzatollah Sahabi had been involved in Iranian politics since the struggle in 1951 to nationalize the country’s oil. He had endured incarceration both before and after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Following the Revolution, he became the head of planning and budget organization in Mehdi Bazargan’s interim government. He also served as an MP in the first Islamic Parliament and was Tehran’s representative in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution.
Later, as a critic of the Islamic Republic, he was arrested twice and subjected to torture to force him to make confessions against himself and his political peers.
In the post-election crackdown on protesters of the 2009 presidential elections, Sahabi made several appeals to the government to release all political prisoenrs.
The Iranian Association of Press Freedom awarded Sahabi its Golden Plume Award in 2008. Sahabi published now banned Iran-e Farda journal in the 1990s among other media activities.