Chronography of Iran

Page last modified 15/9/2022


Home Page


Colour key:



See also Islam and Middle East

See also Judaism and Israel


Box Index:-

8.0, Iran-West nuclear deal, abrogated by US President Trump, 2013-18

7.0, Iran nuclear crisis, 2007-12

6.0, Conservatives gain power, 2000-05

5.0, Salman Rushdie affair, 1988-98

4.0, Death of Ayatollah Khomeini, 1989

3.0, US Hostage Crisis 1979-81

2.0, Fall of the Shah of Iran 1977-79

1.0, Mossadeq, Iranian Oil Crisis 1951-54

0.0, World War Two

-1.0, Modernisation of Iran, 1925-35

-2.0, Beginning of the Iranian Oil Industry, 1908-09

-3.0, Shah Muzaffar ed Din; Russia and UK compete for influence over Persia, 1853-1907

-4.0, Persian weakness; invasions by Afghan and Russian forces, 1719-25

-5.0, Shah Abbas I, 1587-1629

-6.0, Shah Tahmasp I, 1524-76


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.


8.0, Iran-West nuclear deal, abrogated by US President Trump, 2013-18

6/8/2018, US President Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Iran, and cancelling the nuclear deal that had been signed in 2015.

8/5/2018, President Trump of the US unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, arranged by his predecessor President Obama, under which Iran received financial aid in return for curbing its nuclear missiles programme.

28/12/2017, Several days of protest began in Tehran in anti-government protests, angered by a poorly-performing economy.

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. Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear activirty in return for the lifting of Western sanctins against ot.

2013, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, won the Iranian presidential elections.

24/11/2013, Iran and the US reached a deal on Iran�s nuclear programme and sanctions on Iran.


7.0, Iran nuclear crisis, 2007-12

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.

23/1/2012, The EU imposed sanctions on Iran because of continued Iranian enrichment of uranium.

2009, Iran admitted building a uranium enrichment plant but said it was �for peaceful purposes�. The country also test-fired missiles that could reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf.

2007, The Iran nuclear crisis continued, with Iran decalring it had begun full-scale nuclear fuel production.

11/4/2006, Iran�s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that his country has �joined the club of nuclear countries�.


6.0, Conservatives gain power, 2000-05

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.

2005, The ultra-conservative Mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejab, won the Iranian Presidential elections.

20/2/2004, In Iranian elections, Conservative candidates won 149 seats in the Parliament compared to just65 for the Reformists. The senior constitutional bodies, the Council of Guardians, had banned most reformists from standing.

26/12/2003. Earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Bam, SE Iran. Over 25,000 killed and 30,000 injured.

7/11/2002, Iran banned advertising of American products.

18/2/2000, In elections to the Majlis (Parliament) in Iran, reformers won a landslide victory. However Conservative clerics refused to yield power.


7/7/1999, In Tehran, university students demanded liberal reforms. This led to rioting as Islamist vigilantes, the Ansar-e-Hizbollah, attacked the campus, killing 8. Pro-democracy protestors marched in Tehran on 12/7/1999.

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.


5.0, Salman Rushdie affair, 1988-98

24/9/1998, Tehran lifted the fatwa imposed on author Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses.

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.

27/9/1990, Britain resumed diplomatic relations with Iran, which had been suspended over the Rushdie affair.

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�.

5/6/1990, Iran demanded that Britain hand over Salman Rushdie to British Muslims.

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�sSatanic Verses�.

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.


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.


4.0, Death of Ayatollah Khomeini, 1989

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.


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 Iraq 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.


3.0, US Hostage Crisis 1979-81

29/6/1981, Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr left Iran for France after being denounced by Ayatollah Khomeini, because he opposed the taking of US hostages.

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 Iraq 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.

4/2/1980, Iran elected its first post-Revolution president, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.

2/12/1979, Iran adopted a new Islamic constitution.

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 Tehran. However the remaining 53 were to stand trial for espionage.

14/11/1979, Iranian assets in the USA were frozen.

4/11/1979. Iranian demonstrators, and 100 Revolutionary Guards, seized the American Embassy in Tehran, beginning a hostage crisis. 90 personnel, 63 of them Americans, were taken hostage as the return of the Shah for trial was demanded, see 8/3/1980. On 22/10/1979 the Shah had entered the US for hospital treatment and Iranian students wanted him extradited to Iran. On 12/11/1979 the US stopped all oil imports from Iran. On 14/11/1979 President Jimmy Carter ordered all Iranian assets within the US frozen.


2.0, Fall of the Shah of Iran 1977-79

22/10/1979, The deposed Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, went to the USA for medical treatment, see 4/11/1979.

23/8/1979. In Iran, troops clashed with Kurdish rebels.

23/7/1979, In Iran, Khomeini banned the broadcasting of music.

13/5/1979. The Chief of the Central Islamic Revolutionary Court said that anyone who killed the Shah of Iran or his family or aides (all of whom had fled abroad) would be acting on the orders of his court. On 18/5/1979 an Iranian newspaper offered a free trip to Mecca for anyone who killed the exiled Shah.

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.

8/3/1979, Women in Tehran demonstrated against Islamic laws.


Executions of former regime members

16/2/1979, The new government of Iran carried out its first executions of members of the Shah's regime.

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.


11/2/1979, In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini set up a provisional government.

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 France, at the invitation of Bakhtiar.

16/1/1979. The Shah of Iran and Empress Farah fled to Egypt from Tehran, following months of riots.

4/1/1979, The Shah of Iran appointed Dr Shakpur Bakhtiar as Prime Minister, in a concession to popular discontent.

1/1/1979, Iranian Prime Minister General Azhari resigned. He had been appointed to halt the Islamist protests on the streets of Iran, but despite the use of the army, police and secret police he had not achieved this. Demonstrators continued to call for the Shah tp be deposed, and for the return of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile.

24/12/1978, In Tehran, demonstrators tried to attack the US Embassy.

16/12/1978. Civil war loomed in Iran as the Shah refused to abdicate.

10/12/1978. In Iran, two million marched in protest against the Shah.

28/11/1978, The Iranian Government banned religious marches.

6/11/1978, As disorder increased in Iran, a military government was appointed.

5/11/1978. Fierce fighting in Tehran; the Prime Minister, Sharif-Emami, resigned. The British Embassy in Tehran was sacked.

31/10/1978. Iranian oil-workers� strike halved production.

8/9/1978. In Iran, the Shah imposed martial law in an attempt to quell growing discontent; 122 died and 4,000 were wounded.. This followed demonstrations against the Shah in which 58 died.General Gholam Ali Oveissi was appointed military governor of Tehran. Reviled as the �butcher of Tehran� after his brutal response to riots in 1963, he continued in that pattern. His security forces met a peaceful demonstration in Jaleh Square with a hail of bullets, an incident known as �Black Friday�.

27/8/1978, The new Iranian Government of Sharif-Emami lifted the ban on political parties.

19/8/1978. Extremist Muslims in Abadan, Iran set fire to a cinema, killing nearly 400 people.

15/5/1978 Iranian students rioted in Tabriz; troops were called in to quell the disturbances.

11/5/1978. Rioting in Tehran as Muslims called for the removal of the Shah.

10/5/1978, Fundamentalist Islamic riots in Qom, Iran. 10 people killed.

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.

1977, Khomenei�s son died. Subsequently, anti-Shah demonstrations broke out during the period of mourning.

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).

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 Tehran.

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.

18/8/1962, Brothers Ahmad and Mahmaoud Khayami founded IranNational to manufacture cars in Iran.

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.

24/2/1955, Turkey and Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact. This was an alliance of mutual support against Communist activity within their borders or as an external threat. Iran joined later in 1955.


1.0, Mossadeq, Iranian Oil Crisis 1951-54

5/8/1954, In Iran, an solution to the Abadan Crisis was announced. Iran retained ownership of its oil but sgreed to sell only to a consortium of eight international oil companies, and Iran and these eight companies shared the oil profits. This Agreement was signed by the Shah on 29/10/1954.

21/12/1953, In Iran, Dr Muhammad Mossadeq was sentenced to three years in prison. Iran was now a staunch ally of the USA.

22/8/1953, The Shah of Iran returned to the throne, in a coup backed by the UK and USA. Mossadegh was jailed as he was now losing favour within Iran, as Western oil sanctions bit, causing general poverty. The Shaw, compliant with the West, now organised a suitable division of Iranian oil rveenues; 40% to the British, 40% to the USA, 6% to the French and 14% to the Dutch.

16/8/1953, The Shah of Iran fled the country as Mossadeq gained support.

22/10/1952, Iran broke off diplomatic relations with Britain.

22/7/1952, After riots in Tehran, Dr Muhammad Mossadeq was reappointed Prime Minister with emergency powers for 6 months.

7/1952, Mossadegh demanded control of the Iranian armed forces; the Shah resisted this. There were major riots in Mossadegh�s favour, alarming the Royalists who thought this signified that Iran was about to become a Republic under Mossadegh.

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 Iran�s Prime Minister, Iran announced it was nationalising the Anglo-Iranian oil company, set up in 1901 and covering oil concessions of some 480,000 square miles (nationalisation took effect on 2/5/1951). In 1911 a pipeline was built to Abadan which has since grown as a major oil-refining city. This area was vital from 1914 for fuel supplies to the British Army.This nationalisation violated the 1933 Oil Convention

Britain protested strongly at the nationalisation but evacuated the refineries on 3/10/1951.

28/4/1951, After a fortnight of rioting in Abadan, the Iranian Government appointed Dr Muhammed Mossadeq as Prime Minister.


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.

16/11/1945, The Communist Azerbaijani Democratic Party began an uprising in Iran�s Azerbaijan Province.


0.0, World War Two � for full chronology see France-Germany

15/12/1945. Iranian Azerbaijan declared itself an independent republic, following a Communist-led revolt there against Tehran in November 1945. On 11/12/1946 Iranian troops re-conquered the province.

16/9/1941. The Shah of Iran, Reza Khan Pahlavi, abdicated, under pressure from the UK and USSR. His son, Reza Pahlavi, took over.

27/8/1941, Mohammad Ali Foroughi became Prime Minister of Iran for the third time.


8/7/1937, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan signed a non-aggression pact in Tehran.


-1.0, Modernisation of Iran, 1925-35

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.

1933, British oil interests in iran were protected by the 1933 Oil Convention, but see 30/4/1951.

1928, Reza Khan passed the Uniformity of Dress law, requiring all men to wear Western clothes, except the ulema, who could continue to wear their cloaks and turbans, so long as they passed an examination, and also, later, forbidding women to wear the Muslim veil Soldiers would rip the veil off any women found wearing one and destroy it.

8/3/1927 Archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old manicure kit in Iran.

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. This established the Pahlavi Dynasty. He started a programmeof westernisation, but this made him increasingly reliant on Germany for support.


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 Britain and Russia.

For main European events of World War One see France-Germany


-2.0, Beginning of the Iranian Oil Industry, 1908-09

1909, The Anglo-Persian Oil Company established a pipeline terminus on the island of Abadan.

16/7/1909, Ali Kuh Khan, leader of the Bakhtari tribe,

deposed Ali Shah, the Shah of Persia. The Russian Army then invaded northern Persia, occupying the city of Tabriz, ostensibly on behalf of the deposed Shah. They antagonised the Bakhtari. Ali Kuh Khan replaced the Shah with his son, 12-year-old Ahmad.

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.


24/9/1911, William Morgan Shuster, an American serving as Persia�s Treasurer-Generral and financial advisor, was dismissed after Russian demands to oust him. The Persian National Assmebly (Majlis) had originally resisted Russian presuure for this move, but a coup in Tehran this day suspended the Majlis and Shuster was dismissed.

10/4/1909. British forces landed at Tabriz, Iran, as famine caused fears of unrest.

28/2/1908, The Shah of Persia survived an assassination attempt.

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.


-3.0, Shah Muzaffar ed Din; Russia and UK compete for influence over Persia, 1853-1907

8/1/1907, Persian Shah Muzaffar ud-Din died aged 54 after a weak reign of 11 years. He was succeeded by his 35-year-old son who reigned until 1909 as Mohammed Ali.

7/10/1906, The Shah opened the Persian Assembly.

15/5/1903, British Foreign Secretary Lord Lansdowne announced that Britain would strongly resist the establishment of any fortified base by another power on the Persian Gulf. This was aimed at countering expansionist plans by Russia.

13/11/1902, Persia agreed preferential trade terms favouring Russia, and discriminating against British goods.

18/8/1902, The Shah of Persia arrived in London on a State Visit.

1901, The Shah of Persia granted concessions over 1.2 million square kilometres to oil prospector William Knox D�Arcy. These concessions were transferred to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909.

8/6/1896, Muzaffar ed Din was crowned Shah of Persia.

1/11/1856, Britain declared war on Persia, after Persia invaded Afghanistan to try and recover Herat. In 1/1857 Britain seized the port of Bushehr, and Persia sued for peace in 3/1857. Britain made no demands on Persia except that it withdraw from all Afghan territory.

25/3/1853, Muzaffar ed Din, Shah of Persia from 8/6/1896, was born (died 8/1/1907).


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.

19/7/1849, Sayid Ali Mohammed, founder of the Bahai religion, was executed in Persia by order of the Shah.

13/10/1848, 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.

12/11/1817, Baha�u�llah, founder of the Bahai faith, was born.

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 an invading Turkish army in 1726, and ruled until his assassination in 1730.


-4.0, Persian weakness; invasions by Afghan and Russian forces, 1719-25. See Afghanistan, 1709-47

1725, Afghan forces captured Tehran, defeating both Persian and Russian forces. However a new strong Persoian military leader, Nadir Khan (1688 � 1747) emerged and pushed back the Afghans, actually reversing their independence bid untilNadir Khan�s assassination in 1747.

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.

1721, A large Ghilzai Afghan army invaded Perrsia and by 1722 had captured Kerman and Shiraz. The Afghans then advanced on the Persian capital Isfahan and beseiuged it for 6 months. In 10/1722 Isfahan was forced through starvation to surrender. The Russians now also planned to capitalise on the weakness of Persia.

1719, The Afghans took Bam, and were not expelled until 1801. See Afghanistan, lost to Persia through weak Persian rule.


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.


-5.0, Shah Abbas I, 1587-1629

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.

1623, Abbas I, Shah of Persia, captured Baghdad after a year�s siege.

1605, Abbas I, Shah of Persia, defeated the Turks at Bassora, thereby extending Persian rule beyond the Euphrates River.

1597, Abbas I, Shah of Persia, decisively defeated the Uzbegs at a major battle near Herat. They had been harassing the borders of Persia.

1587, Isfahan was made the capital of |Persia.


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.


-6.0, Shah Tahmasp I, 1524-76

1576, End of the reign of Tahmasp I.

1567, The independendent Khanate of Gilan, on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, was incorporated into Persia by Tahmasp I. He deposed Khan Ahmed of Gilan, ending ther Kargia dynasty which had lasted 205 years.

23/5/1524, Shah Ismail of Persia died aged 38. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Tahmasp I, aged 10.


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 theByzantine 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.

421, Al Mondhir, a warrior of Hira (Saudi Arabia), was instrumental in Bahram I becoming ruler of Persia.

399, Yazdegerd I became King of Persia.

379, The Persian Shah Shapur II died aged 70. He had humiliated the Romans and conquered Armenia.

337, Shahpur II started a war against the Romans.

310, Shahpur II was born.

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. Reigned to 271.

226, The Sassanid Dynasty, which lasted until 642, was begun by Prince Ardashir, grandson of Sassan. Reigned to 241.

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


Back to top