Persia 1855, map from LC
Iran 1973, map from UT
Iran 2005, map from CIA
1906 - Dec. 30, the Qatar shah signed a constitution limiting the royal absolutism of past dynasties that ruled Persia over the previous five centuries. It was the culmination of pro-western reforms that began in the mid-ninetheenth century when the Qatars sought British help against Russian expansionism. An oil concession granted by the Qatars to the British led to the 1908 oil discovery and the 1909 Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

1914 - In World War I, Britain organized the South Persia Rifles to keep out German forces and to keep its own control over the Persian government.

1919 - The Anglo-Persian Agreement established a British protectorate over Iran, but it aroused much opposition from anti-foreign groups in the parliament, or Majlis.

1921 - February 22, military commander Reza Khan seized power.

1925 - In October, the Majlis and Reza Khan deposed the Qatar dynasty. December 12, the parliament gave the crown of Iran to Reza Shah Pahlavi.

1926 - April 25, the coronation took place and the Pahlavi era began. Mohammad Reza, the Shah's eldest son, was proclaimed Crown Prince.

1935 - Formerly known as Persia, Iran was adopted as the country's official name.

1941 - The Shah's pro-Axis allegiance in Iran during World War II led to the Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran and the deposition of the Shah in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1950 - Ali Razmara became prime minister and was assassinated less than nine months later. He was succeeded by the nationalist, Mohammad Mossadeq.

1951 - In April, Parliament voted to nationalise the oil industry. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was unable to continue operations and as a result Britain boycotted the purchase of Iranian oil. A power struggle began between the Shah and Mossadeq that led to the Iran Crisis of 1953

1953 - August 22, with the help of western backing, mainly due to oil interests in the country, the Shah overthrew Mossadeq in a coup staged by General Fazlollah Zahedi.

1963 - January 26, the Shah embarked on a campaign to modernise and westernise the country. He launched the 'White Revolution', a program 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 - By September, the Shah's policies alienated the clergy and his authoritarian rule led to riots, strikes and mass demonstrations, and martial law.

1979 - January 16, as the political situation deteriorated, the Shah and his family were forced into exile. February 1, the Islamic fundamentalist, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned to Iran following 14 years of exile in Iraq and France for opposing the regime. April 1, the Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed following a referendum. November 4, Islamic militants took 52 Americans hostage inside the US embassy in Tehran. They demanded the extradition of the Shah, in the US at the time for medical treatment, to face trial in Iran.

1980 - January 25, Abolhasan Bani-Sadr was elected the first President of the Islamic Republic. His government began work on a major nationalization program. July 27, the exiled Shah dies of cancer in Egypt. September 22, Iraq invaded Iran following border skirmishes and a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This marked the beginning of a war that lasted eight years.

1981 - January 20, the American hostages were released ending 444 days in captivity. June 22, Bani-Sadr was dismissed and fled 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 that would later become known as the Iran-Contra affair.

1988 - July 3, 290 passengers and the crew of an Iran Air Airbus were mistakenly shot down by the USS Vincennes. July 20, Iran accepted a ceasefire agreement with Iraq following negotiations in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.

1989 - February 14, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict (fatwa) ordering Muslims to kill British author, Salman Rushdie, for his novel, The Satanic Verses, considered blasphemous to Islam. June 3, Ayatollah Khomeini died. On 4 June, President Khamene'i was appointed as new supreme leader. August 17, Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani was sworn in as the new president. November 3, the US released $567 million of frozen Iranian assets.

1990 - June 21, a major earthquake hit Iran, killing 40,000 people. August 2, Iran remained 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. September 11, Iran and Iraq resumed diplomatic relations.

1995 - US imposed oil and trade sanctions over Iran's alleged sponsorship of "terrorism", seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East process. Iran denied the charges.

1997 - May 23, Mohammad Khatami wins the presidential election with 70% of the vote, beating the conservative ruling elite.

1998 - In September, Iran deployed thousands of troops on its border with Afghanistan after the Taleban admitted killing eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist in Mazar-e Sharif.

1999 - In July, pro-democracy students at Tehran University demonstrated following the closure of the reformist newspaper Salam. Clashes with security forces led to six days of rioting and the arrest of more than 1,000 students.

2000 - In February, Liberals and supporters of Khatami won 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 won only 44 seats. An additional 65 seats would be decided in run-offs.

2001 - In April, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed major security accord to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. In June, President Khatami was re-elected after winning just under 77% of the vote. He began his second term in August.

2002 - In January, President George Bush described Iraq and Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil", warning of the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in these countries. The speech caused outrage in Iran and was condemned by reformists and conservatives alike. In September, Russian technicians began construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from US.

2003 - In September, the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, gave Tehran weeks to prove it was not pursuing an atomic weapons programme. In November, Iran said it was suspending its uranium enrichment programme and would allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. IAEA concluded there was no evidence of a weapons program. In December, 40,000 people were killed in an earthquake in south-east Iran; the city of Bam was devastated.

2004 - In February, Conservatives gained control of parliament in controversial elections; their win was consolidated in a second round of voting in May. Thousands of reformist candidates were disqualified by the hardline Council of Guardians before the polls. In June, Iran was rebuked by the IAEA for failing to fully cooperate with an inquiry into its nuclear activities. In November, Iran agreed to suspend most of its uranium enrichment as part of a deal with the EU.

2005 - In June, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, won a run-off vote in presidential elections, defeating cleric and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. In August, Tehran said it had resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insisted the program wasfor peaceful purposes. In September an IAEA resolution foundIran in violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

2006 - In January, Iran broke IAEA seals at its Natanz nuclear research facility and said it intended to enrich uranium at the plant.


revised 1/15/06 by Schoenherr | Maps