Iran Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Iran is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Tehran, Iran 2020 population is estimated at 83,992,960 according to countryaah. 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. For Iran political system, please check carswers.

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, the Caliphate.

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 since then.

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 at home.

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 arrested.

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 the coup.

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 Syria.


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 change.

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 Hassan Rohani.


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 election.

“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.

Iran Old History