1907 A popular desire for
accountable government led to the creation of a constitutional monarchy
and a parliament
Azadi tower; landmark in a city of
more than 10 million people
1921 22 February - Military
commander Reza Khan seizes power.
1923 - Reza Khan becomes prime
1925 12 December - Parliament, in
a constituent assembly, vote to vest the crown of Iran in Reza Shah
1926 25 April - The coronation
takes place and the Pahlavi era begins. Mohammad Reza, the Shah's eldest
son, is proclaimed Crown Prince.
1935 - Formerly known as Persia,
Iran is adopted as the country's official name.
1941 - The Shah's pro-Axis
allegiance in World War II leads to the Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran
and the deposition of the Shah in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza
1950 - Ali Razmara becomes prime
minister and is assassinated less than nine months later. He is
succeeded by the nationalist, Mohammad Mossadeq.
1951 April - Parliament votes to
nationalise the oil industry. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company is unable to
continue operations and as a result Britain boycotts the purchase of
Iranian oil. A power struggle between the Shah and Mossadeq ensues.
1953 22 August - With the help of
western backing, mainly due to oil interests in the country, the Shah
overthrows Mossadeq in a coup d'etat staged by General Fazlollah Zahedi.
Campaign to modernise
MOHAMMAD REZA PAHLAVI
The Shah was forced into exile in
1979 and died in 1980
1963 26 January - The Shah
embarks on a campaign to modernise and westernise the country. He
launches the 'White Revolution', a programme of land reform and social
and economic modernization. During the late 1960's the Shah became
increasingly dependent on the Secret Police (SAVAK) in controlling those
opposition movements critical of his reforms.
1978 September - The Shah's
policies alienate the clergy and his authoritarian rule leads to riots,
strikes and mass demonstrations. Martial law is imposed.
Shah exiled, Khomeini
1979 16 January - As the
political situation deteriorates, the Shah and his family are forced
1979 1 February - The Islamic
fundamentalist, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returns to Iran following
14 years of exile in Iraq and France for opposing the regime.
The Ayatollah led the 1979 Islamic
1979 1 April - The Islamic
Republic of Iran is proclaimed following a referendum.
1979 4 November - Islamic
militants take 52 Americans hostage inside the US embassy in Tehran.
They demand the extradition of the Shah, in the US at the time for
medical treatment, to face trial in Iran.
1980 25 January - Abolhasan
Bani-Sadr is elected the first President of the Islamic Republic. His
government begins work on a major nationalization programme.
1980 27 July - The exiled Shah
dies of cancer in Egypt.
1980 22 September - Iraq invades
Iran following border skirmishes and a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab
waterway. This marks the beginning of a war that will last eight years.
1981 20 January - The American
hostages are released ending 444 days in captivity.
1981 22 June - Bani-Sadr is
dismissed, he later flees to France.
1985 - After the US and Soviet
Union halted arms supplies, the US attempted to win the release of
hostages in Lebanon by offering secret arms deals, this would later
become known as the Iran-Contra affair.
1988 3 July - 290 passengers and
the crew of an Iran Air Airbus are mistakenly shot down by the USS
1988 20 July - Iran accepts a
ceasefire agreement with Iraq following negotiations in Geneva under the
aegis of the UN.
Hardliners occasionally renew their
call for the author's death
1989 14 February - Ayatollah
Khomeini issues a religious edict (fatwa) ordering Muslims to kill
British author, Salman Rushdie, for his novel, 'The Satanic Verses',
considered blasphemous to Islam.
1989 3 June - Ayatollah Khomeini
dies. On 4 June, President Khamene'i is appointed as new supreme leader.
1989 17 August - Ali Akbar
Hashemi-Rafsanjani is sworn in as the new president.
1989 3 November - The US releases
567 million dollars of frozen Iranian assets.
earthquake kills thousands
1990 21 June - A major earthquake
strikes Iran, killing approximately 40,000 people.
1990 - Iran remains neutral
following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, denouncing both Baghdad's conquest
of Kuwait and any long-term presence of US forces in the region.
1990 11 September - Iran and Iraq
resume diplomatic relations.
US imposes sanctions
1995 - The US imposes oil and
trade sanctions against Iran for alleged sponsorship of 'terrorism',
seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East
process. Iran denies the charges.
1997 23 May - Mohammad Khatami
wins the presidential election by a landslide, with 70% of the vote
beating the conservative ruling elite.
1998 September - Iran deploys
thousands of troops on its border with Afghanistan after the Taleban
admits killing eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist in Mazar-e
1999 July - Pro-democracy
students at Tehran University hold a demonstration following the closure
of the reformist newspaper 'Salam'. Clashes with the security forces
lead to six days of rioting and the arrest of over 1,000 students.
Pro-reform protesters vent
frustration at the pace of change
2000 February - Liberals and
supporters of Khatami win 170 of the 290 seats in the Majlis elections
held February, thus gaining control of parliament previously dominated
by the conservatives since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Hard-liners win
only 44 seats. An additional 65 seats will be decided in run-offs.
2000 April - The judiciary,
following the adoption of a new press law, bans the publication of 16
2000 May - Inauguration of the
2000 August - Senior clerics
issue a religious decree, or fatwa, allowing women to lead religious
congregations of women worshippers.
2001 April - Iran and Saudi
Arabia sign major security accord to combat terrorism, drug trafficking
and organised crime.
2001 June - President Khatami
re-elected for a second term after winning just under 77% of the vote.
2001 August - President Mohammad
Khatami sworn in for his second term in office.
2002 January - US President
George Bush describes Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil",
warning of the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in
these countries. The speech causes outrage in Iran and is condemned by
reformists and conservatives alike.
The UN is keeping a close watch on
Iran's nuclear programme
2002 September - Russian
technicians begin construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at
Bushehr despite strong objections from US.
2003 June - Thousands attend
student-led protests in Tehran against clerical establishment.
2003 September - UN nuclear
watchdog, IAEA, gives Tehran weeks to prove it is not pursuing an atomic
2003 October - Shirin Ebadi
becomes Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize winner; lawyer and human rights
campaigner became Iran's first female judge in 1975 but was forced to
resign after 1979 revolution.
2003 November - Iran says it is
suspending its uranium enrichment programme and will allow tougher UN
inspections of its nuclear facilities.
IAEA report says Iran has admitted
producing high-grade plutonium for peaceful purposes, but concludes
there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme.
2003 December - 40,000 people are
killed in an earthquake in south-east Iran; the city of Bam is
2004 February - Conservatives
gain control of parliament in controversial elections. Thousands of
reformist candidates were disqualified by the hardline Council of
Guardians ahead the polls.
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