Iran liberal dissident leader resigns

An ailing Iranian dissident resigned as the leader of a liberal political party Sunday hours after being released from prison.

"I resign from the post of Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ebrahim Yazdi, 79, as saying Sunday. Yazdi didn't elaborate on the reasons behind his resignation.

Yazdi was jailed in early October and released Sunday on the eve of Nowruz, the Persian new year. IRNA also said several jailed political activists including Mohsen Aminzadeh, a former reformist deputy foreign minister, have been given Nowruz leaves.

Yazdi, a former foreign minister, has been repeatedly jailed over vague charges of plotting against the ruling clerical establishment.

The Freedom Movement of Iran opposes Iran's clerical rule. The party, which played a key role in the 1979 Islamic revolution but turned against the clerics as they consolidated power and crushed dissent, eschews violence and advocates democratic reform.

Established in 1961, the party took charge of the country's provisional government following the 1979 Islamic revolution, but Mahdi Bazargan, its leader at the time, resigned in protest against the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.