A number of great kingdoms have arisen and
fallen in what is today Iran since about 3000 BC. The
Arab conquest in the 6th century AD led Islam to the
area. Parts of what was then Persia were occupied by
Turks in the 18th century, and a hundred years later
came Russians and British. After World War I, the
Pahlavi dynasty came to power and the Shah began to
modernize the country.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Iran, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans' early
relatives lived in caves in the area that today
constitutes Iran. 8000 years before the Christian era,
people lived on the slopes of the Zagros mountains,
where they devoted themselves to agriculture and
livestock management. In the lowlands of western Iran,
an urban civilization emerged, which in the 3000s before
Christ formed a centralized state, the Elamite kingdom
with its own written language.
Since then, many great empires have arisen and fallen
in the area. Various rulers, peoples, cultures and
religions have affected the country. At the same time,
Iran, or Persia, which the country was named until 1935,
has exerted great influence over its surroundings.
Persia first appeared as an independent kingdom in the
500s before Christ. This acemenidic kingdom (the name
was taken from the father of the first great king) was
rapidly expanded, mainly under the kings of Kyros and
Dareios. When it was at its peak in the 14th century BC,
it extended from Egypt to India. A hundred years later,
the Akemenites were defeated by Macedonia's King
Alexander the Great.
In the twentieth century AD, Persia re-emerged as an
independent state, the Sasanid Empire (according to
legend, Sasan was a descendant of the Akemenids). It
existed for more than 400 years, but was weakened by
constant wars with Rome in the west and with Central
Asian nomadic people in the east. In the middle of the
600s, the Sasanid Empire was conquered by the Arabs.
Islam replaced Zoroastrianism as an official religion,
and Persia was subjugated to the then Arab great power,
Since the caliphate, which was placed in Baghdad from
the 740s, became weaker during the late 900s, periods of
Turkish and Mongol domination followed. In 1500, a new
leader emerged, Ismael, the leader of a Shiite Muslim
dervish chord. He founded the Safavid Empire - a
theocracy (state of God) built by Turkmen. Shia became
state religion. Around the year 1600, the Safavid Empire
reached a magnitude that Persia has not experienced
At the beginning of the 18th century, when the power
of the Safavids was weakened, parts of Persia were
occupied by other Turks. When Turkmen Nader Shah had
power (1736-1747), the situation stabilized; the
opponents were fought and the Persians could even
initiate conquests of India.
After Nader Shah's death, political chaos erupted. In
1796, the leader of the Turkmen Qajar tribe proclaimed
Shah, that is, king. Many of the Shahs during
the Qajar dynasty were corrupt and loved luxury. They
saw Iran as their property but badly managed the
country. The administration and the army basically
stopped working. The country became an enticing prey to
powerful neighbors and European great powers. Russia
soon submerged parts of the territory.
Still, the dynasty managed to survive until 1925, but
with constant interference by Britain and Russia. Iran's
leaders pursued a headless policy and the country was
heavily indebted. In order to raise money in the short
term, the country's natural resources were sold to
foreigners. In 1906, the regime of revolution led to
revolution. The Shah was forced to agree to a
constitution that gave the legislative power to a
parliament, the Mayor. However, the sitting
Shah Muhammad Ali disbanded Parliament in 1908. Civil
war broke out and a year later Muhammad Ali was deposed
and succeeded by his minor son.
Persia tried to stay out of the First World War by
declaring itself neutral but was nevertheless occupied
by Russian, Turkish and British forces that fought
battles on Persian soil. When the war was drawing to a
close, the British had more influence in Persia than the
Russians, who had been drawn into the October revolution
In 1921, military officer Reza Khan took power
through a coup d'etat and in 1925 ascended the throne as
shah under the name Reza Shah Pahlavi. Persia now began
to strive to reduce foreign influence. A number of
companies were nationalized. The Soviet Union agreed to
renounce all privileges that Russia had previously
forced in exchange for the right to send troops to
Persia, if the security of the Soviet Union was
threatened from this direction. In a new agreement in
1933 with the British oil company Anglo-Persian (later
Anglo-Iranian), which had a monopoly on oil extraction
in Persia, the Persian state was given somewhat better
conditions than before.
A modernization process was initiated within the
country, largely inspired by the reforms in neighboring
Turkey. The timescale was modernized, even though the
religious year remained one month. Large sums were
invested in expanding communications, the education
system was redone according to the Western cut and the
economy was increasingly centralized. As a step in
modernization, in 1935 the country changed names from
Persia to Iran (as it was called in Persian) in an
international context. In 1936, women were forbidden to
wear a veil, a ban many Iranians considered abusive.
After a few years it was abolished.
Heavy water factory inspected
For the first time in two years, IAEA inspectors visit the facility in Arak
where a heavy water reactor is being built.
Collaboration agreement with the IAEA
Iran and the IAEA sign a "roadmap for cooperation", which gives UN inspectors
the right to visit the heavy water production in Arak and the uranium mine
Gachin. Iran undertakes to freeze or slow down operations in its nuclear
facilities and laboratories. At the same time, Iran agrees to increased
international control of the country's facilities. On the other hand, trade
sanctions against Iran are eased and the country regains access to some of its
economic assets abroad, reportedly equivalent to just under US $ 7 billion.
Reform newspaper stopped
The authorities have stopped publishing the reform-minded newspaper Bahar
since it published a text that was considered to question the Shiite
interpretation of Islam. After a few days, editor-in-chief Said Pourazizi is
Imprisoned journalists are released
Two well-known journalists, Isa Sahakkhiz and Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi, are
released. They have been in prison since 2009.
Terrorists kill border guards
14 Iranian border guards are killed and seven wounded in a guerrilla attack
near the Pakistan border in southeastern Iran. A previously unknown Sunni group
called Jaish-ul Adl (Justice of the Army) says it carried out revenge for
"Iranian Revolutionary Guards Crimes in Syria".
Positive reaction from the US and the EU
Iran is holding new talks with major powers over the country's nuclear
program. The talks have been met with some anticipation in the West, given the
milder language used by the Iranian leadership following the change of
president. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif presents a plan that is described as
intended to break the deadlock. Both the US and the EU say that Iran has shown a
completely different "seriousness and substance" in the new talks.
Nuclear Energy Summit
A meeting will be held at the UN with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and
the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany's Foreign
Minister on the nuclear issue. It is the first time in six years that the US and
Iran will meet at ministerial level.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes over the nuclear negotiations
Rohani announces that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking
responsibility for the nuclear energy negotiations from the Supreme National
Security Council, which is considered to be close to Khamenei.
Political prisoners are released
The regime releases eleven political prisoners, including female human rights
lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. A few days earlier, Rohani had also asked the country's
powerful Revolutionary Guard to stay away from politics.
The CIA recognizes responsibility for the coup in 1953
The US intelligence service CIA admits for the first time that it was behind
the coup against the elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 (see
Modern History). This is done in documents published on the 60th anniversary of
Most ministers are approved
Parliament approves 15 of Rohani's 18 nominated ministers. Two are denied
that they are suspected of having had too close contacts with the Green Reform
movement, while the third is rated for inexperience. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar
Salehi recently resigned as head of Iran's nuclear energy organization, the same
mission he had until 2010. He is considered a moderate politician.
A single woman into government
After being criticized for his entirely male government, President Elham
Aminzadeh nominates Vice President in charge of legal issues. She has previously
sat in Parliament and is considered a conservative.
Ahmadinejad gets a retreat mail
Rohani appoints former Industry and Mining Minister Eshaq Jahangiri as first
vice president. Jahangiri is a close ally of reform-minded former President
Mohammad Khatami. The resigned President Ahmadinejad is assigned a political
retreat post in the Medlar Council (see Political system).
The new president takes office
Hassan Rohani is formally installed as Iran's president.
Iran sells oil to Syria
Iran signs contract to deliver oil to Syria worth US $ 3.6 billion. Payment
is reported to be made by giving Iranian companies the opportunity to invest in
The new president brings hope
The 72.7 percent turnout is a clear decline compared to 2009, when 85 percent
went and voted, but better than expected given the political apathy that
characterized a large part of the population since the reform movement was
crushed. The sudden hope that ignited Rohani during the final race of the
election campaign is believed to have caused many potential voice teachers to
Surprising winners are welcomed
Rohani already wins in the first round of elections. He provisionally
receives 50.68 percent of the vote. Two, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf,
receive 16.55 percent. Both Rohani himself and the Iranian press describe the
election result as "a victory for sense and moderation of extremism".
Reform candidate advocates moderate priest
The only reform candidate in the presidential election, Mohammad Reza Aref,
withdraws his candidacy in the presidential election at the urging of President
Khatami. This, like Rafsanjani, instead calls for the support of moderate priest
Only eight candidates are accepted
Hundreds of Conservative MPs loyal to the country's top leader Ayatollah
Khamenei urge the Guardian Council not to approve Rafsanjani and Mashaei as
presidential candidates. Both are accused of allying with the opposition and of
following a "deviant" political line. The Guardian Council follows the Council,
and only eight candidates are approved, most conservatives who are close to
Ayatollah Khamenei. Rafsanjani refuses to appeal the decision but describes the
country's leaders as "incompetent and ignorant".
Many want to become president
686 people register as candidates in the June 14 presidential election. Among
the heaviest names are former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iran's
chief negotiator on nuclear energy, Said Jalili. One of President Ahmadinejad's
closest associate Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has also signed up, as has senior
diplomat Ali Akbar Velayati and former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
Sanctions against suspects for MRI crimes
The EU is facing targeted sanctions against persons and authorities accused
of human rights violations. In total, nearly 90 Iranians are now subject to
human rights-related sanctions by the EU, which means that they do not get visas
to any EU countries and that any assets within the EU are frozen.
Well-known prosecutor murder suspect
Former Prosecutor Said Mortazavi is suspected of involvement in murder of
hostile protesters and illegal arrests of protesters. Mortazavi was chief
prosecutor in Tehran in connection with the mass arrests of people after the
2009 election. Mortazavi is considered to be close to Ahmadinejad and the murder
charges against him are believed to be part of the growing power struggle ahead
of the June presidential election.
Reform journalists are arrested
At least 14 journalists are arrested by the police, suspected of cooperating
with Persian-speaking "anti-revolutionary" media organizations abroad. All of
them work in newspapers that are close to the reform movement and the arrests
are seen as part of a hardening power struggle ahead of the June presidential
"The economy needs to be broadened"
In a speech to Parliament, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran must
reduce its dependence on oil exports to alleviate the effects of the Western
world's financial sanctions.