Writer - IslamOnline.net
The history of Iran — one of the oldest civilizations on earth — is an
interesting subject that few of us know enough about. As part of our special
coverage of Iran, we offer our readers a chronology of major events in Iranian
Iran's first settlements are established in Elam, the region known today as
7th century BC
King Achemenes creates the first Persian Empire, that of the Achaemenids.
Alexander the Great defeats Greeks, Egyptians and Persians at Issus.
Sassanid dynasty rules Persia with Zoroastrianism being the dominant
Arabs defeat Sassanids in Qadisyya and most of Persia becomes part of the
Seljuk Turks capture Isfahan.
Mongols invade Persia.
Shah Islamil, the first Safavid ruler, declares himself shah and declares Shiism
to be the official religion of the state.
The Treaty of Qasr-e Shirin (or Treaty of Zuhab) is signed, ending around 150
years of war against the Ottoman Empire.
Under popular pressure, the Qajars are forced to introduce a constitution that
limits the powers of the ruler.
Reza Khan, a colonel in the Cossack Brigade, led his men into Tehran.
Reza Khan crowned Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza, the Shah's eldest son, is
proclaimed Crown Prince.
Reza Shah changes the name of the country to Iran, a word that is derived
directly from Aryan (meaning "of noble origin").
Iran officially bans the wearing of the veil.
Under pressure from the Allies, Reza Shah abdicates in favor of his son in an
attempt to preserve the Pahlavi dynasty.
Reza Shah dies in exile.
Employing the military, Muhammad Reza crushes the Azerbaijan autonomy movement.
In 1953, the nationalist Prime Minister
Muhammad Mosaddeq was removed in a coup organized by the British and US
votes to nationalize the oil industry, which is dominated by the British-owned
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and invites Muhammad Mossadeq to become Prime
The nationalist Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq is removed in a coup
organized by the British and American intelligence services.
The Shah, who is increasingly dependent on the secret police (SAVAK),
introduces a modernization and Westernization program.
Khomeini — one of the opposition leaders — is exiled to Turkey.
Khomeini is deported to Iraq.
In response to the demonstrations against the Shah, martial law is imposed.
Khomeini is forced to leave Iraq for France.
Fearing the growing popular anger, the Shah and his family flee the country.
Ayatollah Khomeini, returns triumphant to Iran after 15 years of exile.
Following a referendum, the Islamic Republic of Iran is proclaimed.
A number of Iranian students take a group of Americans hostages inside the
US embassy in Tehran in what is known as the Iran hostage crisis.
The exiled Shah dies in Egypt.
Iran-Iraq war starts.
The US hostages are released.
Following negotiations in Geneva, Iran and Iraq accept a ceasefire
Ayatollah Khomeini dies and Ayatollah Khamenei assumes his position as
Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani becomes the new president.
Rafsanjani is reelected.
Oil and trade sanctions are enforced on Iran by the United States over its
alleged funding of terrorism.
The reform-minded Mohammad Khatami wins the presidential election in a
Khatami's allies win the Majlis elections, extorting control of parliament
President Khatami is re-elected.
In his State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush describes Iraq,
Iran, and North Korea as an "axis of evil".
Russians start constructing Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr.
Shirin Ebadi wins the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming Iran's first Nobel Prize
An earthquake kills around 40,000 people in south-east Iran.
Conservatives win parliamentary elections.
Tehran's former mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wins presidential elections,
beating former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
UN Security Council enforces sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear
Iran detains 15 British sailors and marines in Shatt Al-Arab, causing a
Violence erupts as a result of the government's decision to impose petrol
Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. Colorado: Westview
Iran. London: Lonely Planet Guidebooks, 2004.
Key events in Iran since 1921. The Online
Timeline: Iran. BBC News.
Abdel-Mageed is the editor of the special coverage of Iran on
IslamOnline.net's Muslim Affairs section and a freelance journalist. A graduate
of the American University in Cairo, she holds a BA in political science with a
specialization in public and international law. She has written articles for
several online and print publications, including the Edinburgh Middle East
Report and the Middle East Times.