Iran and Afghanistan; key historical events
See also Islam and Middle East
See also Judaism and Israel
21/8/2015, Britain and Iran re-opened their embassies in each other’s capitals. This followed a nuclear agreement between Iran and the USA organised by US President Obama (but not yet ratified by US Congress).
14/7/2015, Iran and the West reached a nuclear deal.
24/11/2013, Iran and the US reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and sanctions on Iran.
7/9/2012, Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran, over Iran’s support for Syrian Government nuclear plans and human rights abuses.
9/2/2012, Iran suspended oil exports to Britain and France in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU in January 2012.
1/5/2011, The US announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in an military operation in Pakistan
11/4/2006, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that his country has “joined the club of nuclear countries”.
26/10/2005, The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejab, called for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’ at a ‘World without Zionism’ conference in Tehran.
7/11/2002, Iran banned advertising of American products.
5/5/2002. Reports from Afghanistan suggested the Taleban were regrouping in mountain hideouts, waiting for the Afghan government to falter.
22/12/2001, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as head of the interim government in Afghanistan.
6/12/2001. Mullah Omar, the Taleban leader, surrendered Kandahar; but Osama Bin Laden had still not been found.
26/11/2001. Kunduz, last Taleban stronghold in northern Afghanistan, fell to the Northern Alliance.
13/11/2001. The capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, fell to the Northern Alliance, captured from the Taleban. Despite American stipulations that a government of all Afghans should rule, the Alliance seemed in sole control.
11/11/2001. Northern Alliance forces now controlled large areas of northern Afghanistan, including the western town of Herat.
9/11/2001. Northern Alliance forces fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan were reported to have captured the town of Mazar-E-Sharif. This opened up a land route and airfield to bring in supplies to fight the Taleban on the northern front.
9/10/2001. The first daylight raids began by the USA on Afghanistan against the Taliban and Bin Laden’s supporters. This was America’s ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.
7/10/2001. Following the September 11, 2001 attack on the USA, missile attacks began on Afghanistan, prior to US invasion. President George Bush announced the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, to root out Al Quaeda.
See USA for more events of 9 – 11 terrorist attacks
17/9/2001. Afghanistan’s Taliban regime was warned it must hand over Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect for the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the USA.
1/3/2001, In Afghanistan the Taliban demolished ancient Buddhist statues.
24/9/1998, Tehran lifted the fatwa imposed on author Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses.
27/12/1996, Taliban forces retook the important Bagram air base, consolidating their territory around Kabul.
26/9/1996. The Taleban captured Kabul. They drove out the former President, Burhanuddin Rabbani and executed Mohammad Najibullah.
23/11/1994. The Taliban captured Kandahar, Afghanistan. See 26/9/1996.
10/4/1993. Iran said income from tourism rose by 50% over the past year.
14/2/1993. Iran again called on Britain to hand over Salman Rushdie, sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini on 14/2/1989 for his book The Satanic Verses.
2/11/1992. Iran increased the reward for killing Salman Rushdie.
7/9/1992. The first hanging in over 20 years took place in Afghanistan, with around 3,000 spectators.
28/7/1992. Afghanistan banned women, even wearing veils, from being seen on TV.
12/9/1990. In Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei denounced the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia. He called the struggle against the US a ‘holy war’.
6/6/1989, There was hysteria at the funeral of Ayatollah Khomenei in Tehran.
5/6/1990, Iran demanded that Britain hand over Salman Rushdie to British Muslims.
3/6/1989. Death of the Ayatollah Khomeini, religious leader of Iran. Born in 1900, Khomeini attended several Islamic schools before moving to the city of Soq in 1922 where he became a Shiite scholar. Khomeini’s spite against Western influences and his advocacy of Islamic purity won him many followers and in the 1950s he was acclaimed as an Ayatollah, or major religious leader. Thrown out of Iran in 1964 he continued his fight against the Shah in exile. In 1979 his influence caused massive riots in Tehran, forcing the departure of the Shah. Unpopular in the West, Khomeini is mainly remembered for reinstating Islamic punishments and for a long and exhausting war with Iraq.
14/2/1989. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a ‘fatwa’ ordering Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie. Rushdie had published the ‘Satanic Verses’ which angered Muslims worldwide. On 7/3/1989 Iran severed relations with the UK.
12/2/1989, 12 people died in riots in Pakistan over Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’.
2/2/1989. The last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan, ending 9 years of bitter war against the Mujaheddin rebels. 120,000 Soviet soldiers marched north along the Salang Highway, leaving behind much armament. These rebels then marched on Kabul and Jalabad and threatened President Najibulah. Najibulah imposed martial law as Mujaheddin rockets fell on Kabul.
14/1/1989. British Muslims held public burnings of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
8/11/1988. Salman Rushdie won the Whitbread Prize for his book, The Satanic Verses.
12/10/1988. The USSR offered US$600 million reparations to Afghanistan.
3/7/1988. The US cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 286 people on a flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai. The US believed the aircraft was a fighter plane.
15/5/1988. Soviet troops began leaving Afghanistan. On 15/4/1988 Mr Eduard Shevardnaze, the Soviet Foreign Minister set the seal on the Kremlin’s decision to withdraw more than 100,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan, after 8 ½ years of occupation. Some 155,000 troops would be withdrawn by 15/5/1988, and the remainder, as many troops as this again, would go by 15/2/1989. But Washington said it would continue to supply arms to the Mujaheddin who were fighting the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. During the Soviet occupation, up to one million Afghans were said to have been killed and over a third of the population had fled.
18/4/1988. The USA retaliated against Iran for its mining of the Gulf. After warning the Iranians to evacuate, US warships destroyed Iranian oil platforms at Sirri and Sisan. Iranian boats fired back and were sunk by the US.
14/4/1988, In the Geneva Agreement, the USSR agreed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
7/4/1988, Gorbachev, in Geneva, signed a peace accord on Afghanistan.
See Russia / Soviet Union for more events relating to President Gorbachev
8/2/1988, Soviet President Gorbachev announced that Russian troops were to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in May 1988.
21/9/1987, The US seized an Iranian ship in the Gulf.
15/1/1986, Soviet President Gorbachev spoke of the continuing occupation of Afghanistan as a ‘bleeding wound’.
9/11/1982, Thousands of Soviet troops died in a fire inside the Salang Pass road tunnel, Afghanistan.
21/1/1981. The US hostages in Iran were released. 50 men and 2 women were flown out of Iran after 444 days in captivity. The US had agreed to freeze the assets of the deposed Shah, end trade sanctions, and unfreeze Iranian assets in the USA. The hostages were flown to Algiers, then to Wiesbaden, Germany, to be greeted by Ex-President Carter. Ths hostage crisis began when the US allowed the ailing Shah of Iran to enter for medical treatment.
31/10/1980, The eldest son of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Shah, proclaimed himself as the rightful heir to the Peacock Throne.
See Islam and Middle East for more events of Iran-Iraq War
24/9/1980. Iraq invaded Iran, making initial territorial gains. But by 1981 these were lost and Iran occupied some border areas of Iraq. The Iranians could not capture Baghdad or Basra, despite sending 250,000 men into battle. Iraq probably responded with poison gas. In 1984 the action switched to the Persian Gulf. Iraq attacked ships visiting Iranian ports, probably hoping for an Iranian blockade of Iraqi oil exports, which would have angered the West. Iran attacked ships serving Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to deter them from supporting Iraq. Iran suffered more, as its tanker oil revenues plummeted. By March 1988 Iranian gains in Iraq had been recaptured and the border was virtually unchanged; Iran then agreed to a ceasefire.
22/9/1980. Iraqi aircraft attacked Iranian bases after some weeks of fighting on the Iran-Iraq border. Iraqi troops also entered Iranian territory. This was the beginning of the Gulf War; Iraq wanted total control of the Shatt-El-Arab waterway, for oil exports, but Iran claimed their mutual border ran down the middle of this waterway.
26/7/1980. The deposed Shah of Iran died in a Cairo hospital after a long battle with cancer, aged 60.
11//6/1980. A hostage from the US Embassy in Tehran, Richard Queen, was released due to illness.
5/5/1980. The Iranian Embassy in London was stormed by the SAS to rescue 19 hostages.
30/4/1980. In London, 6 armed men took over the Iranian Embassy, taking 25 people hostage. They threatened to blow up the embassy if 91 prisoners in Iran were not released. On 5/5/1980 a Special Air Service (SAS) team stormed the embassy, rescuing the hostages. 4 terrorists died, another died later, and one was captured.
24/4/1980. The US attempt to rescue the hostages held in Iran, Operation Eagle Claw, ended in fiasco. President Carter had to make a statement to the world. 90 commandos had taken off under cover of darkness from Pakistan with 8 Sikorsky helicopters and 6 Hercules transport planes. Three helicopters suffered mechanical failure in the desert dust of eastern Iran. The mission was abandoned but on taking off again from the desert 8 American servicemen died when another US helicopter collided with one of the Hercules planes. The burnt out planes and the bodies of the soldiers were abandoned where they fell. The Iranians were jubilant, and the Ayatollah Khalkhali displayed and mutilated the bodies at a macabre press conference in the Embassy.
7/4/1980, The US severed diplomatic relations with Iran and imposed economic sanctions, as the hostage crisis, which began on 4/11/1979, continued.
8/3/1980. President Jimmy Carter refused to apologise for past US actions in Iran in return for the release of 53 hostages. See 4/11/1979. On 7/4/1980 the US severed relations with Iran.
22/2/1980. In Kabul, martial law was imposed after violent anti-Soviet demonstrations.
4/2/1980, Iran elected its first post-Revolution president, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.
29/1/1980, The Islamic Conference of 36 nations condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
15/1/1980. NATO and the Common Market debated whether to boycott the Moscow Olympics after the USSR had invaded Afghanistan, on 27/12/1979.
4/1/1980, Jimmy Carter proclaimed a grain embargo against the USSR, following its invasion of Afghanistan; the European Commission backed this embargo.
2/1/1980, US President Jimmy Carter told the US Senate not to ratify the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) with the USSR until Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
27/12/1979. President Hafizullah of Afghanistan was deposed and executed in a coup strongly backed by Soviet troops. On 8/1/1980 President Carter described the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the greatest threat to world peace since World War Two. Muslim guerrillas were active against the pro-Soviet regime, and 5,000 Soviet troops were stationed in Afghanistan. The USSR feared a spread of Muslim insurgency to the Soviet Union itself.
24/12/1979, Soviet troops began an invasion of Afghanistan.
21/11/1979, Khomeini warned that if the US attacked Iran the hostages would be killed.
17/11/1979, Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and
Black hostages being held at the US Embassy in
4/11/1979. Iranian demonstrators, and 100 Revolutionary
Guards, seized the American Embassy in
22/10/1979, The deposed Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, went to the USA for medical treatment, see 4/11/1979.
23/7/1979, In Iran, Khomeini banned the broadcasting of music.
3/7/1979, US President Jimmy Carter signed the first secret directive for aid to be given to anti-Communist opponents of the Kabul government.
13/5/1979. The Chief of the Central Islamic Revolutionary
Court said that anyone who killed the
7/5/1979. Tehran lowered the minimum age of marriage to 13 for boys and 15 for girls.
1/4/1979, Iranians voted by a 98% majority to make their country an Islamic Republic; the Shah was officially deposed.
15/2/1979. In Iran, 4 Iranian army generals were executed by firing squad; two members of the Shah’s government were executed the following day.
10/2/1979, The Iranian Army mutinied against its leader and joined the Iranian Revolution. Khomeini now also controlled the law courts and government administration.
3/2/1979, Khomeini created the Council of the Iranian Revolution.
1/2/1979. Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran
after 14 year’s exile in
16/1/1979. The Shah of Iran and
Empress Farah fled to
16/12/1978. Civil war loomed in
28/11/1978, The Iranian Government banned religious marches.
6/11/1979, As disorder increased in Iran, a military government was appointed.
5/11/1978. Fierce fighting in Tehran; the Prime
resigned. The British Embassy in
31/10/1978. Iranian oil-workers’ strike halved production.
19/8/1978. Extremist Muslims in
students rioted in
11/5/1978. Rioting in Tehran as Muslims called for the removal of the Shah.
6/5/1978, The UK recognised
the new regime in
30/4/1978, The Soviet Union
recognised the new regime in
27/4/1978. A bloody coup overthrew the government of Afghanistan and replaced it with a pro-Soviet regime. Tanks and Mig-21 fighter planes attacked the Presidential palace in Kabul as Mohammed Daud was overthrown. The president and his family was massacred. All public meetings were banned and martial law imposed indefinitely.
7/1/1978, Riots erupted in the Iranian city of Qom after a government controlled newspaper made crude accusations against Khomeini, alleging that he had spied for the British and written erotic poetry.
19/11/1977, Iranian police broke up a peaceful middle class and student protest at Ayramehr University, where intellectuals had begun to challenge the rule of the Shah through letter writing, pamphlets and poetry readings. Students then protested on the streets, where they were met by the Savak security forces.
1975, The Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein of Iraq concluded the Algiers Agreement. Under its terms, Iraq ceded ceded border areas north of the Shatt el Arab to iran, and agreed that the Iran-Iraq border should run down the middle of this waterway, not along the Iranian low-water mark on the north. In return Iran ceased military assistance to the Kurdish rebeks in northern Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s subsequent abrogation of this Agreement effectively started the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).
17/7/1973, Daoud, supported by the Parcham Party, ousted his cousin King Mohammed Zabiur Shah, who had rued Afghanistan since 1933. Daoud proclaimed himself President of the new Republic of Afghanistan.
26/10/1967. The Shah of Iran
and his wife were crowned in
21/3/1958. The Shah of Iran announced on TV that he was divorcing his wife of seven years, Queen Soraya, because she had not given him an heir. She moved to Paris and became an actress.
24/12/1957, Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was born.
28/10/1956, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, was born.
22/8/1953, The Shah of Iran returned to the throne and Mossadegh was jailed after a military coup.
22/10/1952, Iran broke off diplomatic relations with
4/10/1951, The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company removed its personnel from Abadan for safety reasons.
27/9/1951, Iranian troops occupied the Abadan oilfields.
23/8/1951, British oil companies and workers prepared to leave Iran.
5/7/1951, The International Court of Justice ruled against Iran (see 26/5/1951). US President Truman called for a compromise.
26/5/1951, Britain appealed to the International Court of Justice over the Iranian nationalisation of the oil industry. On 5/7/1951 the Court ruled in Britain’s favour.
19/5/1951, Britain warned Iran against seizing British oil assets there, 8 Britons died in riots there in April 1951.
30/4/1951. The day after Mohammed Mossadeq took office as
Britain protested strongly at the nationalisation but evacuated the refineries on 3/10/1951.
19/6/1947, Salman Rushdie was born.
25/4/1946, The USSR agreed to withdraw its troops from Iran.
15/12/1945. Iranian Azerbaijan declared itself an independent
republic, following a Communist-led revolt there against
16/9/1941. The Shah of Iran, Reza Khan Pahlavi, abdicated. His son, Reza Pahlavi, took over.
21/3/1935, Persia officially changed its name to Iran.
27/12/1934. In Tehran, the government declared that ‘Persia’ would now be known as Iran.
8/11/1933, Mohammed Nadir Shah, King of Afghanistan, was assassinated.
8/3/1927 Archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old manicure
18/2/1926, An Anglo-Persian oil treaty was signed, giving another 25-year oil exploration contract to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.
13/12/1925, Reza Khan was proclaimed Shah of Iran.
31/10/1925, Persian Majles deposed the Shah, Sultan Ahmad.
22/11/1921. Britain recognised the independence of Afghanistan, under the Anglo-Afghan Treaty, signed by the Dobbs Mission in Kabul.
21/2/1921, Reza Khan (born 1878,of the Pahlevan clan), an officer in the Iranian Army who had risen from the rank of Private to General, occupied Tehran with 1,200 men. Iran was in chaos after the ravages of World War One and its ruler Ahmad Shah, the last of the Qajar dynasty, was young and incompetent,and the cabinet was weak and corrupt. Subsequently known as Reza Shah Pahlavi, he modernised the country, organised its transport links, and retook control of Iran’s finances from foreign investors. His foreign policy was to play the principal foreign powers in the region, the Soviet Union and Britain, off against each other. This policy failed when Britain and Russia became allies in World War Two in 1941. Britain and Russia jointly occupied Iran in August 1941 so the Soviet war effort could be supplied. Reza Shah then abdicated so his son, Mohammed Reza Shah, could adapt Iranian foreign policy to the new situation, and continue the dynasty. Reza Shah died in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 1944.
26/10/1919. Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was born.
8/8/1919, The Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed. This ended the Third Afghan War, which had begun on 3/5/1919.
24/5/1919. Having defeated
Afghan raiders on the Indian border, the British bombed Jalalabad and
3/5/1919. Fighting broke out
7/8/1916. Iran formed an alliance with
For main European events of World War One see France-Germany
23/6/1908, Mohammed Ali Shah of Persia mounted a successful coup with the help of the Cossack brigade; he then imposed martial law in Tehran.
26/5/1908. Significant oil fields were found in Persia (Iran), the first oil strike in the Middle East.
13/8/1907, An Anglo-Russian
7/10/1906, The Shah opened the Persian Assembly.
18/8/1902, The Shah of Persia arrived in London on a State Visit.
20/10/1897, The British put down a rebellion by Afghan tribes at the Battle of Durgai.
1/9/1880, The British were defeated at the Battle of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
1/8/1880. The British lifted the siege of Kandahar, where a British garrison had been besieged by Afghan rebels. A 10,000 strong relief force had marched 313 miles, under General Sir Frederick Roberts, in just 23 days.
27/7/1880, Battle of Maiwand, Second Afghan War.
6/10/1879, Battle of Charasiab, Second Afghan War. British defeated the Afghans.
3/9/1879, Afghan rebellion against the British.
21/11/1878, The British Army advanced into Afghanistan from India.
4/3/1857, By the Treaty of Paris, Afghanistan’s independence was recognised by Britain and France, and forced upon Persia.
30/3/1855, Afghan leader Dost Mohammed signed a peace treaty ending 12 years of hostility with Britain.
19/7/1849, Sayid Ali Mohammed, founder of the Bahai religion, was executed in Persia by order of the Shah.
6/1/1842. A 16,500-strong Anglo-Indian force under Lord Auckland was massacred in Afghanistan whilst retreating from Kabul.
18/7/1823, The Treaty of Erzerum was signed, between the Sultan of Ottoman Turkey and the Qajar Shah of Persia; this Treaty defined their common frontier in lower Iraq. However the two powers continued to dispute possession of the town of Muhammara, at the mouth of the Karun River, a disagreement dating from 1812. In 1847 a second Treaty of Erzerum was signed, giving Muhammara to Persia.
17/6/1797, Agha Mohammad Khan, Shah of Persia, died.
1787, Tehran became the capital of Iran under the rule of Agha Mohammed Khan Qajar.
1747, The modern nation of Afghanistan was formed under Ahmad Shah Durrani, a warlord who secured the independence of the country from Iran.
1629, Abbas I (The Great), Shah of Persia, born 1571, died. He became Shah in 1588, and established a standing army, achieving greater stability in Persia. From 1598, he recovered Azerbaijan and parts of Armenia from the Ottoman Turks, and Khurasan from the Uzbeks. He also transferred the Persian capital from Qazvin to Isfahan.
23/5/1524, Shah Ismail of Persia died aged 38. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Tahmasp, aged 10.
23/8/1514, At the Battle of Chaldiran, Selim I defeated the Persians under Shah Ismail I.
570 AD, Persia ovetturned Abyssian rule in Yemen.
17/7/330 BCE, King Darius III was deposed and killed by Bessus, the satrap of Bactria. Bessus assumed the kingship as Artaxerxes IV.
336 BCE, Assassination of King Arses of Persia; accession of King Darius III.
338 BCE, King Artaxerxes III was assassinated; accession of King Arses.
359 BCE, Accession of Artaxerxes III in Persia.
405 BCE, King Darius II of Persia (424 – 405 BCE) died. Succeeded by Artaxerxes II, who ruled until 359 BC.
408 BCE, Unsuccesful attempt by the Medes to throw off Persian rule.
424 BCE, Xerxes II became King of Persia but was assassinated two months afterwards. Succeeded by Darius II, who died in 405 BCE.
465 BCE, Death of Xerxes, King of Persia 485 – 465 BCE (born 519 BCE).
485 BCE, Death of King Darius I, King of Persia 522 – 485 BCE. He organised the Persian Empire into 20 Satrapies (provinces). He also introduced economic measures, incuding tax reforms and a common currency across the Empire, and a standing army. However after his death Persia declined.
522 BCE, Death of King Cambyses II, som of King Cyrus, King of Persia 529 – 522 BCE. Cambyses II conquered Egypt.
547 BCE, Cyrus the Great of Persia (553-529 BCE) overthrew Croesus, last King of Lydia (561-547 BCE)
See Greece for events of Greco-Persian wars, 5th century BCE
For ancient Middle East e.g. Babylonia, Assyria, see Judaism