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559 - 332BC The Achaemenian Dynasty & the Great Persian Empire. The Persian Empire became the dominant world power for over two centuries.
550BC Cyrus the Great established the First World Empire.
525BC The Persians conquer Egypt.
332BC Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and Persia.
323-141BC The Seleucid Dynasty was established by one of Alexander's generals
247BC-224AD The Parthians conquered the Seleucids.
224 - 642 The Sasanian Dynasty ruled Persia. Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion.
570 The Prophet Mohammad was born.
632 The Prophet Mohammad died and his teachings were compiled into the Koran, the holy book of Islam.
636 An Arab invasion brought the end of the Sasanian dynasty and start of Islamic rule.
642 - 1220 The Arab Caliphate.
9th Century The emergence of the modern Persian language (or Farsi), written using a form of Arabic script.
9-13th Century The decline of Islamic Caliphate, and the rise of the Seljuk Turk dynasties.
1220 Invasion by Mongol forces of Genghis Khan.
1271 Marco Polo journeyed through Persia en route to China.
1295 Ghazan Khan became the first Mongol leader to convert to Islam.
1501-1524 The Safavid Dynasty was started by Shah Ismail I, who united all of Persia under Iranian leadership, Shi'i Islam declared state religion.
1639 The treaty of Qasr-e Shirin (or Treaty of Zuhab) ended about 150 years of war against the Ottoman Empire.
1736 Nadir Shah became monarch after the end of Safavid dynasty.
1795 Qajar Dynasty.
1828 Iran cedes control of Caucasus to Russia after second Russian-Persian war.
1851-1906 The Qajars lost the central Asian provinces to the Russians and were forced to give up all claims on Afghanistan to Great Britain.
1890 The "Tobacco Riots", ruler Naser al-Din Shah was forced to withdraw trade concessions granted to Britain after mass protests.
1907 The introduction of a constitution, which limited the absolutist powers of rulers.
1914-1918 Iran declared neutrality, but became the scene of heavy fighting during World War I.
February 1921 Military commander Reza Khan seized power.
1923 Reza Khan became prime minister.
December 1925 Parliament votes to make Reza Khan ruler.
1925-1940 The Pahlavi Dynasty.
April 1926 Reza Khan was crowned Reza Shah Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza, the Shah's eldest son, was proclaimed Crown Prince.
1935 Formerly known as Persia, Iran is adopted as the country's official name.
1941 The Shah's pro-Axis allegiance in World War II leads to the Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran and the deposition of the Shah in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1950 Ali Razmara became prime minister and was assassinated less than nine months later. He was succeeded by the nationalist, Mohammad Mossadeq.
April 1951 Parliament voted to nationalise the oil industry, which was dominated by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Britain imposed an embargo and a blockade, halting oil exports and hitting the economy. A power struggle between the Shah and Mossadeq ensued and the Shah fled the country in August 1953.
August 1953 Mossadeq was overthrown during a coup engineered by the British and American intelligence services. General Fazlollah Zahedi was proclaimed as prime minister and the Shah was returned. Although its claimed that the CIA orchestrated and carried out the coup. The Shah of Iran was placed in power thanks to a plan called "Operation Ajax" that was authorised by President Dwight Eisenhower and directed by the same men who carried out the coup against the legitimate government of Guatemala. Brothers John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State) and Allen Dulles (CIA Director) took part in the organisation. The Iranian coup is fully explained in a book called 'All the Shaw's Men' by Stephen Kinzer, the same author who co-wrote "Bitter Fruit."
January 1963 The Shah embarked on a campaign to modernise and westernise the country. He launched the 'White Revolution', a program of land reform and social and economic modernisation. During the late 1960's the Shah became increasingly dependent on the secret police (SAVAK) in controlling those opposition movements critical of his reforms.
September 1978 The Shah's policies alienated the clergy and his authoritarian rule lead to riots, strikes and mass demonstrations. Martial law is imposed.
January 1979 As the political situation deteriorated, the Shah and his family were forced into exile.
1st February 1979 The Islamic fundamentalist, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned to Iran following 14 years of exile in Iraq and France for opposing the regime.
1st April 1979 The Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed following a referendum.
29th July 1979 The Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution ending 2,500 years of monarchy.
November 1979 Islamic militants take 52 Americans hostage inside the US embassy in Tehran. They demand the extradition of the Shah, in the US at the time for medical treatment, to face trial in Iran.
January 1980 Abolhasan Bani-Sadr was elected the first President of the Islamic Republic. His government began work on a major nationalisation program.
July 1980 The exiled Shah died of cancer in Egypt.
22nd September 1980 The start of Iran-Iraq war which lasts for eight years.
January 1981 The American hostages were released ending their 444 days in captivity.
June 1981 Bani-Sadr was dismissed, he later fled to France.
1985 After the US and Soviet Union halted arms supplies, the US attempted to win the release of hostages in Lebanon by offering secret arms deals, this would later become known as the Iran-Contra affair.
July 1988 290 passengers and the crew of an Iran Air Airbus were mistakenly shot down by the USS Vincennes.
July 1988 Iran accepted a cease fire agreement with Iraq following negotiations in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.
February 1989 The Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict (fatwa) ordering Muslims to kill British author, Salman Rushdie, for his latest novel, 'The Satanic Verses', Considered blasphemous to Islam.
3rd June 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini died on the 4th June. President Khamene'i was appointed as the new supreme leader.
August 1989 Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani was sworn in as the new president.
November 1989 November The US released 567 million dollars of frozen Iranian assets.
June 1990 A major earthquake strikes Iran, killing approximately 40,000 people.
1990 Iran remained neutral following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
September1990 Iran and Iraq resumed diplomatic relations.
1995 The US imposed oil and trade sanctions over Iran's alleged sponsorship of "terrorism", seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East process. Iran denied the charges.
May 1997 Mohammad Khatami won the presidential election with 70% of the vote, beating the conservative ruling elite.
September 1998 Iran deployed thousands of troops on its border with Afghanistan after the Taleban admitted to killing eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist in Mazar-e Sharif.
July 1999 Pro-democracy students at Tehran University demonstrated following the closure of the reformist newspaper 'Salam'. Clashes with security forces lead to six days of rioting and the arrest of more than 1,000 students.
February 2000 Majlis elections. The Liberals and supporters of Khatami took control of the parliament from conservatives for the first time.
April 2000 The judiciary, following the adoption of a new press law, banned the publication of 16 reformist newspapers.
May 2000 Inauguration of the Irainian Sixth parliament.
June 2001 President Khatami was re-elected.
January 2002 US President George Bush described Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil", warning of the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in these countries. The speech caused an outrage in Iran and was condemned by reformists and conservatives alike.
September 2002 Russian technicians began construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from US.
June 2003 Thousands attended student-led protests in Tehran against clerical establishment.
September 2003 The UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, gave Tehran weeks to prove it was not pursuing an atomic weapons program.
October 2003 Shirin Ebadi became Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize winner. The lawyer and human rights campaigner became Iran's first female judge in 1975, but was forced to resign after the 1979 revolution.
November 2003 Iran reported that it was suspending its uranium enrichment program and would allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. The IAEA concluded there was no evidence of a weapons program.
December 2003 40,000 people were killed in an earthquake in south-east Iran. The city of Bam was devastated.
February 2004 The Conservatives regained control of the parliament elections. Thousands of reformist candidates were disqualified by the hard line Council of Guardians before the polls.
June 2004 Iran was rebuked by the IAEA for failing to fully cooperate with an inquiry into its nuclear activities.
November 2004 Iran agreed to suspend most of its uranium enrichment under a deal with the EU.
June 2005 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, won a run-off vote in the presidential elections, by defeating cleric and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
August-September 2005 Tehran says it has resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insists the program is for peaceful purposes. IAEA finds Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
January 2006 Iran broke the IAEA seals at its Natanz nuclear research facility. Bomb attacks in the southern city of Ahvaz, which was the scene of sporadic unrest during recent months, reports of kill eight people and more than 40 injured.
February 2006 The IAEA voted to report Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear activities, as Iran resumed uranium enrichment at Natanz.
April 2006 Iran reported that it had succeeded in enriching uranium at its Natanz facility.
31st August 2006 The UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt its work on nuclear fuel passes. The AEA announced that Tehran has failed to suspend the program.
December 2006 Iran hosted a controversial conference on the Holocaust, delegates include Holocaust deniers. The UN Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. Iran condemned the resolution and vowed to speed up uranium enrichment work.
February 2007 The IAEA reported that Iran had failed to meet a deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, exposing Tehran to possible new sanctions.
March 2007 A diplomatic stand-off with Britain after Iran detained 15 British sailors and marines patrolling the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway separating Iran and Iraq.
April 2007 President Ahmadinejad said that Iran can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
The IAEA said that Iran has begun making nuclear fuel in its underground uranium enrichment plant. It also reported that Iran had started up more than 1,300 centrifuge machines.
May 2007 IAEA said Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in three to eight years if it so chooses.
June 2007 Protests erupted after the government imposed petrol rationing amid fears of possible UN sanctions.
July 2007 Iran announced plans to stop making cars that only run on petrol and switch to dual-fuel vehicles, which also run on gas. Iran agreed to allow inspectors to visit the Arak nuclear plant following talks with the IAEA.
October 2007 The US announced sweeping new sanctions against Iran, the toughest since it first imposed sanctions almost 30 years earlier.
December 2007 A new US intelligence report played down the perceived nuclear threat posed by Iran.
February 2008 February Iran launched a research rocket to inaugurate a newly built space centre. Washington describes the launch as "unfortunate".
March 2008 President Ahmadinejad made an unprecedented official visit to Iraq, where he called on foreign troops to leave. He also stressed his government's desire to help rebuild Iraq and sign a number of cooperation agreements. The conservatives won over two-thirds of the seats in parliamentary elections in which many pro-reform candidates were disbarred from standing. The conservatives included supporters of President Ahmadinejad as well as more pragmatic conservatives who oppose his confrontational foreign policy. The UN Security Council tightened economic and trade sanctions on Tehran.
May 2008 IAEA said that Iran was still withholding information on its nuclear programme.Iran's new parliament elected former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani as its speaker.
June 2008 The EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented an offer of trade benefits, which Tehran said it would look at, but would reject it if its demands suspension of uranium enrichment.
July 2008 Iran test-fired a new version of the Shahab-3, a long-range missile it said was capable of hitting targets in Israel.
August 2008 The informal deadline set by Western officials for Iran to respond to package of incentives in return for a halt in its nuclear activities passes without reply. Iran said it had successfully launched a test rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space.
September 2008 The UN Security Council passed unanimously a new resolution reaffirming demands that Iran stop enriching uranium, but imposed no new sanctions. The text was agreed after Russia said it would not support further sanctions.
November 2008 Parliament voted to dismiss the interior minister, Ali Kordan, who admitted that a degree he said he held from Oxford University was fake. The move was a blow to President Ahmadinejad ahead of the next year's presidential election.In an unprecedented move, President Ahmadinejad congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama on his election win. Mr Obama had offered to open unconditional dialogue with Iran about its nuclear program.
December 2008 Police raided and close the office of a human rights group led by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi. Officials said the centre was acting as an illegal political organization.
February 2009 Speaking on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would welcome talks with the US as long as they were based on "mutual respect".
March 2009 The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told an anti-Israel rally that US President Obama was following the "same misguided track" in the Middle East as President Bush.
April 2009 An Iranian court found Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi guilty of spying for the US. She is sentenced to eight years in prison.
May 2009 Iran rejected a US state department report saying it remained the "most active state sponsor of terrorism" in the world. Jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was freed and returned to US.
June 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared to have won a resounding victory in the 12th June presidential election. The rival candidates challenge the result, alleging vote-rigging. Their supporters took to the streets, and at least 30 people were killed and more than 1,000 arrested in the wave of protests that follow. The Iranian authorities claimed foreign interference was stoking the unrest, and single out Britain for special criticism.
July 2009 President Ahmadinejad dismissed his most senior vice-president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, under pressure to do so by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
August 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for second term as president. He presented a cabinet that included women, the first since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979. A number of senior opposition figures were accused of conspiring with foreign powers to organise unrest and are put on trial. The supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there was no proof that opposition leaders blamed for the post-election unrest were agents of foreign powers.
September 2009 Iran admitted that it was building a uranium enrichment plant near Qom, but insisted it is for peaceful purposes. The country test-fired a series of medium and longer-range missiles that placed Israel and US bases in the Gulf within potential striking range.
October 2009 Five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany offered Iran proposal to enrich its uranium abroad.
November 2009 Iran refused to accept the international proposal to end the dispute over its nuclear program. UN nuclear watchdog IAEA passed a resolution condemning Iran for developing a second uranium enrichment site in secret. Iran denounced the move as "political" and announced plans to create 10 more uranium enrichment facilities.
December 2009 The death of influential dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri triggered further clashes between opposition supporters and security forces. At least 8 people died in what was the worst violence since the contested presidential election.
January 2010 Iran executed two men arrested during the period of unrest that followed the disputed presidential election of June 2009. It also placed 16 people on trial over the Ashura Day opposition protests in December, when eight people were killed. Iranian physics professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi was killed in a bomb attack in Tehran. No group claims responsibility. The government accused the US and Israel for his death, while Iranian opposition groups said Mr Mohammadi supported one of their candidates in last year's presidential election.
February 2010 Iran said it is ready to send enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment under a deal agreed with the West. The US called on Tehran to match its words with actions. The opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said the opposition would continue its peaceful struggle against the government.
May 2010 Iran reached a deal to send uranium abroad for enrichment after mediation talks with Turkey and Brazil, while the western states respond with scepticism, saying the agreement will not stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium.
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