Iranian Opposition Figure Tied To U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Arrested And Released In Tehran


The global media is reporting on the arrest and release in Iran of Ibrahim Yazdi (aka Ebraham Yazdi) a former deputy prime minister and later foreign minister in the early days of the Khomeini government. According to a CNN report:

A former Iranian deputy prime minister pulled from his hospital bed and arrested Wednesday was taken to a Tehran hospital Thursday and later released, his granddaughter said. Relatives say they haven’t heard from Ibrahim Yazdi…since his arrest Wednesday. But it was unclear whether Ibrahim Yazdi, secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, was headed home after his release from Pars Hospital, said Atefeh Yazdi of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She said she was trying to reach him in Tehran but was unable to, possibly because of the lateness of the hour there. It also was unknown whether Ibrahim Yazdi, who is about 76, remained in the custody of those who had arrested him Wednesday. Yazdi has suffered from prostate cancer, and his condition must be closely monitored, family members said.

The Houston Chronicle provides further biographical information on Dr. Yazdi and his role in the Iranian opposition group known as the “Freedom Movement”:

In the 1960s, the budding politician came to the U.S. to study and attend medical school. He eventually ended up on the faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. But his work went beyond the realm of medicine. He created a variety of political and religious groups and became respected as one of Texas’ most prominent Muslims. “He was fairly well-known in Houston,” said Ali Khalili, now a vice president at the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston. “He had numerous gatherings at his house and discussions on various topics. His roots were definitely here.” Yazdi, who rose to become a supervising pathologist at the Veterans Administration hospital in Houston, managed to keep his activities mostly quiet from the Americans he worked with. In a 1979 Time magazine article, colleagues described Yazdi simply as “pleasant, humanitarian and a good scientist.” But he was intimately connected to politics back home in Iran. As the 1979 revolution approached, he joined the Ayatollah Khomeini and became a deputy prime minister and later the foreign minister. And it was Yazdi’s ties with Khomeini that made him a controversial figure among some Iranian-Americans. Many who were exiled after the revolution saw Yazdi as a traitor to the country because he supported the new regime, said Majid Mir at the Foundation for Iranian Studies in Bethesda, Md. And conservatives in Iran, too, sometimes saw Yazdi as a threat. He had lived for years in the U.S. and some thought he was too close to Americans, Mir said. Max Jameson, a prominent Houston Iranian-American who immigrated to the U.S. decades ago and whose Iranian name isMasood Jameos sanaie, typifies the views of Yazdi’s opponents. “He is the victim of his own beliefs,” Jameson said. “He was the man who paved the way for Khomeini’s return to the country. Yazdi has a total misunderstanding of democracy.” After the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by revolutionaries in 1979, Yazdi and several other government politicians resigned. He then began his long journey as an opposition politician. Today he leads a Tehran-based group called the Freedom Movement, which often is the target of government crackdowns. Yazdi and his movement espouse “freedom, independence and democracy for the Iranian nation, on the basis of modern interpretation of Islamic principles.” Everyone agrees Yazdi’s journey has been a difficult one. He has been jailed numerous times and is monitored closely by authorities, said his granddaughter, Atefeh Yazdi, who lives in Pennsylvania.

None of the media reports identify Dr. Yazdi’s ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Professor Sulayman Nyang, close to the U.S. Brotherhood, has described Dr. Yazdi as part of one of the three groups that were instrumental in creating the Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the early 1960’s:

You have three elements who were instrumental in bringing about the MSA. You have those people from the subcontinent who were followers of Mawlana Maududi. Anis Ahmad and all those people – Iqbal Yunus, and all those people. Then you have people who came from the Arab world who would identify with the Ikwan al-Muslimoon [Muslim Brotherhood]. You know, Abu Gideri, Tijani. We’re neighbors, you can name their names. And then those who came from Iran, who were the followers of Ayatollah Khoei, people like Mosadeq; [or the one]who became foreign minister after the [Iranian Islamic] Revolution – people like Ibrahim Yazdi. Those elements, they were students here. These groups, the followers of Ayatollah Khoei, those from Najaf in Iraq; the followers of Mawlana Maududi; and the followers of Sayyid Qutb, Hassan al- Banna and the Ikhwan [al-Muslimoon] – they were the ones who started the MSA in America.

A report from the Hudson Foundation on the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood has described the role of the MSA in the early history of the U.S. Brotherhood.

It should also be noted that the Tehran phone number of Dr. Yazdi was found in the 1999 address book belonging to Youssef Nada, the self-described “foreign minister” of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a 2002 Al Jazeera interview, Mr. Nada stated that Dr. Yazdi was the point of contact for a Muslim Brotherhood delegation that went to Iran in the early days of the Iranian Revolution. (See note 1)

(Note 1: “Brotherhood international relations as seen by Yousouf Nada, Part II Host: Ahmad Mansour Guest: Yousouf Nada, Chairman of the Board, Al Taqwa Bank Broadcast date: 8/11/2202)

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