Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 16:15 UK
Iran Archives: Inside the Ayatollah's Iran

Panorama has reported from Iran over the past 50 years, from her days as an ally of the West under the Shah to the more troubled relationship we share today.

Watch abridged moments from some of those films here.

On the 10th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Panorama looked at the aftermath of its eight-year bloody war with neighbouring Iraq.

It was the war with Iraq that was to dominate Iran through the 1980s.

A 1979 coup saw Saddam Hussein assume power in Iraq.

He saw the Iranian revolution as an opportunity to challenge disputed borders and gain dominance in the region. But Iran had similar objectives, avoiding attempted calls for a ceasefire as the war became a damaging stalemate.

It continued until August 1988 when peace was eventually brokered by a United Nations ceasefire.

Estimates vary, but it is thought an estimated one million people lost their lives on both sides of the conflict and the war had brought Iran to near economic collapse.

Panorama returned in 1989 as the country celebrated the Islamic Revolution's tenth anniversary.

That summer Khomeini died, and millions turned out for his funeral. His successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, continues in his role as Supreme Leader to this day.

With a new Supreme Leader, relations with the West improved slightly. Iran remained neutral in the 1991 Gulf War. However, suspicions that the country was supporting militant Lebanese and Palestinian groups led to the US imposing sanctions in 1995.

Relations with Iran's regional neighbours further improved in 1997 with the election of the pro-reform cleric Mohammed Khatami as president.

While a supporter of the Islamic state, he tried to lift some of the more restrictive elements of the establishment, especially with regards to women, young people and the media.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific