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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 18:19 GMT
Iran's century of upheaval

  • 1906 Constitutional Revolution limits power of the Shah (monarch) and leads to the setting up of the National Assembly, Majlis-e Shura.

  • 1925 Reza Pahlavi removes the Qajar dynasty from power and sets up the Pahlavi dynasty.
    Reza Shah
    Reza Shah: The late Shah's father
  • 1941 Britain and the Soviet Union invade Iran, remove Reza Shah from power and put his son, Mohammed Reza, on the throne as the new Shah of Iran.

  • 1951 Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Mossadeq nationalises Iranian oil industry.

  • 1953 Dr Mossadeq is overthrown in a coup by pro-Shah officers with British and American assistance.
    Iran was invaded in 1941
  • 1963 The Shah introduces his White Revolution - a package of social and economic reforms. He clamps down on secular and religious opponents and imprisons Ayatollah Khomeini.

  • 1964 Ayatollah Khomeini is sent into exile in Turkey for opposing a bill granting US military personnel diplomatic immunity. In 1965, he moves to Iraq where he remains until 1978.

  • 1965 Supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini assassinate the prime minister, Hassan Ali Mansur.

  • 1969 Ayatollah Khomeini delivers his lectures in exile on the nature of Islamic government.
    Ayatollah Khomeini
    Ayatollah Khomeini was banished in 1964
  • 1971 Islamic and left-wing guerrillas begin an armed struggle against the security forces in Iran.

  • 1973 The Shah is the leading figure in the campaign by Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to increase oil prices. At home he further centralises power in his own hands.

  • 1975 The Shah and Saddam Hussein sign the Algiers Agreement to end Iran-Iraq border dispute.
    The Shah left Iran in 1979
  • 1977 The Shah, facing domestic dissent and expecting pressure from new US president Jimmy Carter, begins to make concessions to liberal critics. But this leads to further demands for democratisation amid economic difficulties.

  • 1978 A government inspired article in a national paper critical of Ayatollah Khomeini leads to protests and riots in Qom and other cities. The protests are organised by the clergy and their nationwide network of activists. The Ayatollah, pressurised by the Iraqi government to keep silent, moves to Paris which gives him access to the world media.

  • 1979

    January The ailing Shah leaves Iran. He dies in Cairo in 1980.

    February Ayatollah Khomeini returns as leader of the revolution. The armed forces announce their neutrality and the monarchy collapses. The Ayatollah takes power with Mehdi Bazargan as his prime minister.
    Ayatollah Khomeini receives an ecstatic welcome
    Ayatollah Khomeini returned to an ecstatic welcome
    November Radical students occupy the American Embassy and hold 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

    December The new Islamic constitution is ratified by a referendum.

  • 1980 The Iraqi forces attack Iran on 20 September beginning a war that lasts until 18 July 1988.

  • 1989

    February Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa condemning British writer Salman Rushdie to death for his ''blasphemous'' novel The Satanic Verses.
    Satanic Verses
    Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie went into hiding for 10 years
    March Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri is removed from his position as successor to Ayatollah Khomeini.

    June Ayatollah Khomeini dies. The then president Ali Khamenei succeeds him as supreme leader.

    August Former Majlis speaker Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected president. He serves two terms until 1997.
    President Khatami
    President Khatami wants to curb the clerics' powers

  • 1997 Mohammad Khatami, former minister of culture and Islamic guidance and head of the National Library, is elected in a landslide victory in May. His base is particularly strong among young people and women.

  • 1998/1999 Pro-Khatami newspapers are closed and their editors put on trial. A number of liberals are murdered.

  • 1999

    Febrauary Iran holds first local elections since the revolution.

    March President Khatami visits Italy, the first trip by an Iranian leader to a Western country in 20 years.
    Iranian protests
    Young Iranians march for reform
    July Worst unrest since revolution as pro-reform students stage mass protests and clash with hardline vigilantes and police.

    November Former interior minister Abdollah Nouri, a close Khatami ally, is jailed for five years by a clerical court for spreading anti Islamic propaganda in his newspaper Khordad.

  • 2000

    January Hundreds of candidates, including many reformers, are disqualified from standing for election by the conservative vetting body.

    Shah departs, 16 Jan 79
    Radio Iran announces Shah's departure [Persian]
    Protests Jan-Feb 1979
    Revolutionary demonstrations [Persian]
    Ayatollah Khomeini, 11 Feb 79
    His first speech: ''We want an independent Iran'' [Persian]
    Fatwa, 14 Feb 89
    Radio Iran announces Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie [Persian]
    President Khatami, 3 May 95
    ''We want to solve the problems of young people'' [Persian]
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