Iran; key historical events
Page last modified 15/8/2021
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8/1/2020, An airliner with 176 people on board crashed with no survivors shortly after taking off from Tehran on a flight to Ukraine. The plane blew up in mid-air, sparking speculation that it had been hit by a missile. The incident, early in the morning whilst still dark, coincided with a limited Iranian missile strike against US bases in Iraq, in a low-key revenge attack for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani on 3/1/2020.
3/1/2020, Early this morning, a US drone strike on Baghdad Airport killed Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Al Quds air force, along with three other senior Iranian officials.
19/7/2019, Iran seized a British-owned tanker in the Persian Gulf. A second vessel was also arrested, but the captain was �warned� and then allowed on his way. This followed the seizure of an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar, allegedly taking oil to Syria in defiance of EU sanctions. Iran alleged that the British tanker had entered the Gulf the wrong way, collided with a fishing boat, and then ignored its distress signal.
23/5/1997, In Iran, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Khatami was elected President. He won a landslide victory gaining 22 million out of 30 million votes.
10/5/1997, An earthquake near Ardekul, north east Iran, killed over 2,400 people.
1996, In elections to the Majlis, conservative candidates lost ground to more liberal factions.
1995, The USA imposed sanctions on Iran over its alleged support for international terrorist groups.
11/6/1993, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, Reformist, was re-elected for a second term as President of Iran.
10/4/1993, Iran said income from tourism rose by 50% over the past year.
21/6/1990, Earthquake hit Iran, 7.7 on the Richter scale, destroyed towns across 100 square miles of Gilan Province, NW Iran. Over 40,000 died and 100,000 were injured.
28/7/1989, In Iran, Rafsajani became the new elected President.
6/6/1989, There was hysteria at the funeral of Ayatollah Khomenei in Tehran.
4/6/1989, Ali Khamenei was appointed Supreme Leader of Iran.
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.
12/2/1989, 12 people died in riots in Pakistan over Salman Rushdie�s �Satanic Verses�.
18/2/1989, In Afghanistan., President Najibullah imposed a State of Emergency to bolster his authority.
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.
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.
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.
21/9/1987, The US seized an Iranian ship in the Gulf.
1985, Khamenei was re-elected President.
4/3/1984, The speaker of the Iranian Parliament claimed that 400 Iranian soldiers had been killed by Iraqi chemical weapons.
See Islamic World for Iran - Iraq War 1980-88
29/10/1981, Hosein Musavi became Prime Minister of Iran/
2/10/1981, Hojatoleslam Ali Khameini was elected President of Iran.
11/9/1981, In Tehran, a grenade killed one of Khomeini�s aides, Ayatollah Madani.
30/8/1981, In Tehran, a bomb attack killed President Ali Rajai, Prime Minister Hojatolislam Bahonar, and Colonel Dagsgerdi.
24/7/1981, Muhammad Ali Rajai was elected President of Iran.
28/6/1981. In Tehran, a bomb attack killed Ayatollah Beheshti, the Chief Justice and Head of the Islamic Republican Party, also four other Government Ministers.
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).
30/11/1971, Iran occupied the Tunbs islands in the Persian Gulf, one day before the British Protectorate over them expired. Iraq severed diplomatic relations with the UK and Iran, alleging collusion.
31/8/1968. A major earthquake in Iran killed over 20,000 people.
26/10/1967. The Shah of Iran
and his wife were crowned in
21/1/1965, Hassan Ali Mansur, 41-year old Prime Minister of Iran, was fatally shot as he stepped out of his limousine to walk into the parliament building in Tehran. Mohammed Bokhara'i, a 19-year-old student, fired five shots and struck Mansur twice; he was a member of the Islamic radical group Fada'iyan-e Islam, affiliated with Muslim clerics close to the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini.
27/10/1964, In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini delivered a speech attacking the extent of US involvement in Iran, saying that Iran was virtually a �colony of America�. Following this he was deported and took up residence in the Shiite city of Najaf, Iraq.
1963, The Shah of Iran launched the �White Revolution� a programme of land reform and economic modernisation. Opposition was suppressed.
9/5/1961, Ali Amini, the new Prime Minister of Iran, dissolved Parliament and banned political meetings.
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.
1957, The Shah established the Savak, a secret police force to control the opposition.
31/1/1957, The Trans-Iranian oil pipeline, from Abadan to Tehran, was completed.
28/10/1956, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, was born.
7/3/1951, In Iran the Prime Minister, General Ali Razmara, was assassinated by a militant nationalist.
28/1/1951, The Shah of Iran ordered his Crown land to be sold to the farmers who lived and worked on it. Ownership of some 2,000 small villages was turned over to its residents. However large landowners resisted the move in the Iranian Majlis (Parliament), fearing for the integrity of their own estates. The Shah persisted with his policy and by 1958 over 500,000 acres of land had been shared out amongst 25,000 farmers, according to a law enacted in 1955. This law fixed the maximum landholding allowed at 25 acres of irrgated land and 37 acres of non-irrigated land. The Shah also began to redistribute large landholdings owned by the Iranian Government, separate from the Crown. In 1959 the Shah attempted to enact a law forcing large private landowners to sell to the Government, which would then redistribute this land to small farmers on easy terms; the landowners blocked this measure in the Majlis. By the early 1960s the Shah managed to get some of this private land redistributed, in the so-called White Revolution.
19/6/1947, Salman Rushdie was born.
25/4/1946, The USSR agreed to withdraw its troops from Iran.
31/10/1925, Persian Majles deposed the Shah, Sultan Ahmad.
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.
1920, Tudeh, the Communist Party of Iran, was founded. Bolshevik forces invaded the Caspian province of Gilan, hoping for a pro-Soviet revolution. Other regions, including Khurasan, Azerbaijan and Kurdistan, rebelled against central control. However in 1921 Reza Khan seized power and signed a treatybwoth Russia, allowing for the withdrawal of Bolshevik forces. By 1922 the four rebel provinces were back in Iranian control.
26/10/1919. Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was born.
9/8/1919, Britain guaranteed to preserve the integrity of Persia.
7/8/1916. Iran formed an alliance with
For main European events of World War One see France-Germany
15/12/1907, The new Shah of Persia attempted to depose the new liberal Chief Minister. However, popular protests forced him to reverse this move.
1/5/1896, Nasr-ed-Din, Shah of Persia, was assassinated, aged 65. He was succeeded by his 43-year-old son, Muzaffar-ed-Din.
25/3/1853, Muzaffar ed Din, Shah of Persia from 8/6/1896, was born (died 8/1/1907).
19/7/1849, Sayid Ali Mohammed, founder of the Bahai religion, was executed in Persia by order of the Shah.
1848, Persia�s Kajar Shah Mohammed Ali died aged 38, after a 13-year reign during which he has nearly bankrupted the country and almost precipitated a revolution. He was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Nasr-ed-Din, who reigned until 1896. He was assisted, until 1852, by the capable Finance Minister, Taki Khan.
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.
24/10/1813, The Treaty of Gulistan was signed between Persia and Russia. Persia ceded territory to Russia, and recognised Russia as having sole right of navigation on the Caspian Sea. Russia was also granted a say in the succession of the Qajars.
4/5/1807, The Finkenstein Treaty was signed between France and Persia. The French agreed to military aid and advice, to assist Persia in expelling the Russians from Georgia. In return Persia promissed to assist France in any French invasion of British-held India.
17/6/1797, Agha Mohammad Khan, Shah of Persia, was assassinated. He was succeeded by his nephew who ruled until 1835 as Fath Ali Shah.
1787, Tehran became the capital of Iran under the rule of Agha Mohammed Khan Qajar.
1786, Start of the Qajar Dynasty in Iran.
1747, Nadir Shah was assassinated by one of his own tribesmen. A period of anarchy now ensured in Persia.
1736, The Persian Safavid Dynasty, which had endured since 1502, ended with the death of Shah Abbas III, aged 6. The Turkish Nadir Kuli, who had effectively ruled Persia for the past decade, now became Nadir Shah and ruled until 1747.
1734, The Russians were compelled to return Gilan to Persia.
1731, Shah Tahmasp II of Persia died after a brief reign. He was succeeded by his 8-month-old son, who ruled for 5 years. The end of his reign marked the end of the Safavid Dynasty, which had endured since 1502.
1730, Persian Shah Ashtraf was assassinated after a defeat near Shiraz, en route to Kandahar. He was succeeded by Tahmasp II.
1725, The insane Mir Mahmud Shah was succeeded at Isfahan by Ashraf Shah, who defeated in invading Turkish army in 1726, and ruled until his assassination in 1730.
12/9/1723, The Russians occupied Gilan, on the south of the Caspian Sea, compelling Persia to cede it, along with Mazandaran and Astaarabad, by Treaty this day. Persia was then under the rule of the insane Mir Mahmud Shah, and Turkey and Russia planned to divide the country between them. However see 1725 and 1734.
1719, The Afghans took Bam, and were not expelled until 1801.
1694, Shah Suleiman of Persia died after a dissolute reign of 27 years. His 19-year-old son Husein succeeded him, and ruled until 1722.
1667, Shah Abbas II died aged 35 after a weak 25-year reign. He was succeeded by his dissolute son who ruled until 1694 as Shah Suleiman.
1586, The half-blind Shah of Persia, Mohammed Khudabanda, died after a 9-year regn, He was succeeded by his 30-year-old son who ruled for 42 years as Shah Abbas I. Under Abbas I, Persian territory was greatly extended.
23/8/1514, At the Battle of Chaldiran, Selim I , ruler of the Shia Muslim Ottoman Empire, defeated the Sunni Muslim Persians under Shah Ismail I. Drawing on lessons learnt from fighting European armies, the Ottoman Army was well disciplined and equipped with heavy cannon and musket-armed infantry. In contrast the smaller Persian Army relied on the cavalry charge and possessed no artillery. The Safavid capital at Tabriz was taken by the Ottoman Turks, forcing the Persians to move their capital further east. This battle was instrumental in fixing the present day frontier between Turkey and Iran.
1512, Shi-ism became the State religion of Persia.
1501, Accession of Shah Ismail; start of the Safavid Empire.
1145, The Friday Mosque at Isfahan was constructed.
4/12/1131, (Iran) Omar Khayyam, Persian poet and mathematician, born 5/15/1048, died at Nishapur.
1043, End of the Ziyarid Dynasty in Persia.
628, Death of King Chosrau II �Parviz�, Sassanid King of Persia from 588. He was the grandson of Chosrau I. Chosrau II came close to defeating the� Byzantine Empire in 626, when his armies stood across the Bosphorus from Constantinople itself. However Emperor Hercaclius led a counter-attack and defeated Chosrau II at Nineveh in 627. Subsequently Chosrau II was deposed and executed by his son, Kavadh II. Meanwhwhile Heraclius entered Jerusalem and restored the �True Cross� to its rightful place in 630.
619, King Chosrau II took Egypt.
609, King Chosrau II attacked the Byzantine Empire, which was severely weakened due to wars with the Goths and other Germanic tribes, and also the Justinian Bubonic Plague � see Roman Empire. In 614 Chosrau II captured Jerusalem, acquiring Christianity�s most Holy relics; fragments of wood said to come from the �True Cross�, the �Holy Lance� that had pierced Jesus� side, and the �Sacred Sponge� that had refreshed Jesus,
579, Death of King Khosrau I �Anushirvan�. A Sassanid King of Persia, he ruled from 531, succeeding his father, Kavadh I.
570, Persia overturned Abyssian rule in Yemen.
531, King Kavadh I died. He was succeeded by Khosrau I.
499, Kavadh I recovered the throne of Persia, deposing Djamasp.
496, Kavadh I was deposed and exiled by his brother Djamasp.
488, Kavadh I succeeded Balash as king.
460, Hormizd II became King of Persia.
438, Yazdegerd II became King of Persia.
399, Yazdegerd I became King of Persia.
337, Shahpur II started a war against the Romans.
303, Hormizd II, son of Narseh, became Shah of Persia.
297, Rome took the Kingdom of Armenia from Persia, also capturing the Persian Harem. Galerius defeated the Persians, who were also compelled toi cede western Mesopotamia and 5 provinces on the eastern bank. There was then peace between Persia and Rome for 40 years.
294, Narseh became ruler of Persia. He ruled until 303. He attempted to recover Armenia from Rome,driving out the Romans in 297; however he was defeated by Rome.
277, Mani, foiunder of Manichaeism, was crucified by the Persians.
259, Persia defeated another Roman army. They captured the emperor Valerian and held him in a cage for a year, before killing him.
244, The Sassanid Persians defeated a Roman army, killing the Emperor who was leading it.
243, Roman Emperor Gordian III defeated a Persian army under Shapur I at the Battle of Resaena.
241, Shapur I succeeded Ardashir I as King of Persia.
226, The Sassanid Dynasty, which lasted until 642, was begun by Prince Ardashir, grandson of Sassan.
For conquests of Alexander the Great, see Greece
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 by poisoning; accession of his younger son, King Arses.
358 BCE, Artaxerxes III ended the Satraps Rebellion.
359 BCE, Accession of Artaxerxes III in Persia.
360 BCE, In Persia,the revolt of the Satraps (regional governors).
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.
424 BCE, Death of Artaxerxes II (ruled 465-424).
465 BCE, Death of Xerxes, King of Persia 485 � 465 BCE (born 519 BCE). Murdered by his bodyguards, his son Artaxerxes succeeded him.
469 BCE, Athenian forces won a major victory over Persia on the River Eurymedon, establishing Athenian hegemony on the region.
480 BCE, King Xerxes of Persia led an invasion force into Greece; however Athens and Sparta set aside their differences to unite and fight him. The Greeks eventually won and were left more powerful than before.
485 BCE, Death of King Darius I, King of Persia 521 � 485 BCE. He was succeeded by his son, Xerxes.
Darius 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.
See Jewish / Bible history for events in Persia 500 BCE and earlier.
See Greece for events of Greco-Persian wars, 5th century BCE
For ancient Middle East e.g. Persia, Babylonia, Assyria, see also Judaism