The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan
By Brooklyn Eagle
New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.
If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.
But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.
Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.
“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.
While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.
“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”
Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”
While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

The Iranian Horn warns it can enrich uranium to nuclear weapons grade

Iran warns it can enrich uranium to nuclear weapons grade

July 15, 2021 00:55

JEDDAH: Iran claimed on Wednesday that it had the ability to enrich fissile uranium to 90 percent purity — the level required to build the core of a nuclear weapon.

“Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization can enrich uranium by 20 percent and 60 percent and if … our reactors need it, it can enrich uranium to 90 percent purity,” President Hassan Rouhani told a Cabinet meeting in Tehran.

The outgoing president, who leaves office next month, also blamed hard-liners in the ruling theocracy for the failure so far to negotiate a revived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

“They took away the opportunity to reach an agreement from this government. We deeply regret missing this opportunity,” Rouhani said. “We are very sorry that nearly six months of opportunity has been lost.”

The JCPOA collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out and President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Tehran responded by incrementally breaching its obligations under the terms of the deal, increasing its stocks of enriched uranium and levels of enrichment, which the agreement caps at 3.67 percent.

Indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington aimed at reviving the deal have been taking place in Vienna, where the sixth round of talks adjourned on June 20.

No resumption has yet been scheduled, and Iranian and Western officials have said significant gaps remain to be resolved.

Iranian officials said Ebrahim Raisi, the incoming president, planned to adopt “a harder line” in the talks, and the next round of talks might not take place until late September or early October.

Members of Iran’s nuclear team could be replaced with hard-line officials, but top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi would stay “at least for a while,” they said.

One official said Raisi planned to show “less flexibility and demand more concessions” from Washington, such as keeping a chain of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in place and insisting on the removal of US sanctions related to human rights and terrorism.

The Dangerous Paranoia of the Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Putin’s Paranoia, More Than Nuclear Weapons and Oil, Make Russia Dangerous

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 18 Issue: 122

Age: 22 hours

The remarks by United States President Joseph Biden at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last week (July 27) made a strong but ambivalent impression in Moscow. His warning regarding Russian misinformation and interference in the 2022 mid-term elections in the US was countered with the usual denials (RIA Novosti, July 28). Instead, the most emotional protests came in response to Biden’s assertion that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was dangerous because he presides over a weak economy. Russia boasts “nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else,” he argued (Izvestia, July 28). This was certainly a deliberate oversimplification: the US president was addressing an expert audience that surely knew better, and so the offense to Moscow was most probably intended. Indeed, Putin’s troubles are far more complicated than overseeing shrinking petro-revenues and an aging nuclear arsenal. And that complexity of challenges to his autocratic regime is key to understanding what actually makes the Kremlin leader dangerous (Ezednevny Zhurnal, July 29).

Russia’s nuclear might is beyond doubt. The nuclear sphere has been prioritized in successive armament programs over the last ten years, with massive funding channeled into the modernization of its key elements. These colossal investments yield scant political dividends at home. But the newly established strategic stability talks with the US have granted Russia the desired status of an equal counterpart and boosted its self-confidence on the international stage (Izvestia, July 28). Russian officials confirm their readiness to discuss even such formerly non-negotiable matters as non-strategic nuclear warheads, and they suggest expanding the format to include France and the United Kingdom—though remaining conspicuously mum about China (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 28). New data on the fast buildup of Chinese strategic missiles has come as a surprise for Moscow, proving that political declarations about the ever-tightening partnership with Beijing are mostly rhetorical (Kommersant, July 28). China’s intercontinental nuclear strike capabilities, however, are set to transform the global strategic balance, creating new risks for Russia, whose territory would necessarily be crisscrossed by the planned flight paths of these new Chinese missiles (Novaya Gazeta, July 29).

Meanwhile, in the world of oil and natural gas markets, Russia’s positions are quite vulnerable. Even though the oil and gas industry makes up only 15 percent of Russia’s GDP, according to the Kremlin’s riposte to Biden’s comments (RIA Novosti, July 28), the national dependency on the inflow of energy export revenues is much more profound, making up between roughly a third and a half of the state’s annual budget each year since 2005 (Warsawinstitute.org, August 25, 2020). Yet China is interested in pressing the benchmark oil price down, and Russia is wary of acting against this interest (Izvestia, July 31, 2021). The main target of Moscow’s instrumentalization of gas export for political purposes is Europe. Therefore, the US-German July compromise on the controversial Nord Stream Two pipeline is perceived as a major success (see EDM, July 21). Ukraine has every reason to expect that in the next round of tensions, Moscow will shut down the gas transit through its territory (Gas & Money, July 23). However, such crude pressure might backfire severely in the situation where the European Union places a strong priority on reducing emissions. The proposition on cutting down energy imports from Russia could be converted into a political directive (Carnegie.ru, July 26).

The Russian economy certainly has sources of strength beyond the production of oil, gas and coal: agriculture is benefitting from state subsidies aimed at ensuring self-sufficiency; timber remains a valuable export resource; and the bosses of metal corporations sit at the top of the list of Russian billionaires (Forbes.ru, April 23). The Russian IT sector is also blossoming notwithstanding persistent government efforts to expand control over the virtual economy, justified by an informational security doctrine that treats the cyber domain as part of state sovereignty (see EDM, December 16, 2016 and March 27, 2018Kommersant, July 30, 2021). Russia also has solid financial reserves estimated at $600 billion, and the state budget remains balanced even in the situation of protracted stagnation (RBC, June 30).

This complexity of Russia’s economic structures and interactions renders “simple” political instructions, like the prescription to minimize the holdings of US dollars in the national currency reserves, unfeasible or counterproductive (Carnegie.ru, July 29). The Russian economy has shown remarkable resilience against Western sanctions, but it cannot—despite whatever orders are issued by the Kremlin—achieve a strong recovery from the contraction caused by the still spreading pandemic (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 27). Macro-economic statistics can be carefully doctored, but the continuing contraction of household incomes translates into worsening demographics. It is impossible to hide the plain fact that in 2020, Russia’s population declined by 700,000 people. This year may see an even sharper drop (Rosbalt, July 27).

Putin is eager to simulate firm leadership in economic policymaking while delegating the responsibility for setbacks to lower levels of the monumental bureaucratic pyramid (Ezhednevny Zhurnal, July 20). He advertises a package of technological innovations designed by “technocrats” in the government. Still, he relies far more on traditional bureaucrats, who manage the distribution of funding according to an informal balance of interests (Forbes.ru, July 30). Corruption is the fundamental principle of this management of stagnation, and the occasional punishments of some “excesses” only illuminate the scope of this phenomenon (Novaya Gazeta, July 29). The working assumption in the Kremlin is that the system of bureaucratic corruption has sufficient reserves of stability and capacity for self-reproduction, while public discontent can be effectively suppressed (Republic.ru, July 28). Protest activity in Russia has been all but eliminated by the escalation of repressions; but what this enforcement of autocratic order cannot deliver is a capacity to mobilize society and the economy for a sustained struggle against the much castigated external “enemies.”

Official discourse on the irreducible confrontation between a “besieged” Russia on the one hand and an “aggressive” West on the other serves the interests of the beneficiaries of institutionalized corruption just fine, until the state starts to demand a concentration of all available resources—including their ill-gotten fortunes—for the task of military buildup. Putin is caught between the greed of his “oligarchs” and the ambitions of his siloviki (security services personnel). He may be enjoying every luxury his status as “great leader” provides, but dark visions of inescapable global violent conflict increasingly cloud his judgment. Biden’s reference to a “real shooting war” was intended as a warning about the risks of cyberattacks, but Putin apparently believes that Russia’s interminable war with the US-led West can remain “hybrid” for only so long. It is this conviction, exploited by the top brass and fueled by self-deceiving propaganda, that makes Russia dangerous.

The China Nuclear Horn appears to be expanding its nuclear capabilities: Daniel 7

The Dongfeng 41, a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, is on display during a military parade in Beijing.
The Dongfeng 41, a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, is on display during a military parade in Beijing. Credit: AP

China appears to be expanding its nuclear capabilities even further, new US report claims

Brad Lendon and Nectar GanUpdated: Thursday, 29 July 2021 8:30 AM AEST

China is building a second field of missile silos in its western deserts, according to a new study.

Researchers say the silo field signals a potential expansion of its nuclear arsenal and calls into question Beijing’s commitment to its “minimum deterrence” strategy.

Identified via satellite imagery, the new missile base in China’s Xinjiang region may eventually include 110 silos, said the report released on Monday by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

It is the second apparent silo field uncovered this month by researchers, adding to 120 silos that appear to be under construction in the neighboring province of Gansu.

Together, the two sites signify “the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever,” the FAS report said.

Previously, some Chinese media outlets dismissed reports of the missile silo field in Gansu, suggesting it was a wind farm.

The wind farm claim has not been confirmed by Beijing.

‘Pretty convincing evidence’

Adam Ni, director of the Canberra-based China Policy Centre, said the discovery of the apparent silo fields is “pretty convincing evidence of China’s intent to significantly expand its nuclear arsenal – in a faster manner than a lot of analysts have so far predicted.”

For decades, China has operated about 20 silos for its liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) called the DF-5.

Now, it appears to be building 10 times more, possibly for housing its newest ICBM, the DF-41, according to the FAS report.

A satellite image from Planet Labs shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert.
A satellite image from Planet Labs shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert. Credit: Planet Labs Inc.

“The Chinese missile silo program constitutes the most extensive silo construction since the US and Soviet missile silo construction during the Cold War,” the report said.

“The number of new Chinese silos under construction exceeds the number of silo-based ICBMs operated by Russia, and constitutes more than half of the size of the entire US ICBM force.”

Rapid buildup

The seemingly rapid buildup has raised questions over whether China is still committed to keeping its nuclear arsenal at the minimum level necessary to deter an adversary from attacking – a policy Beijing has adopted since detonating its first atomic bomb in the 1960s.

The “minimum deterrence” posture has historically kept China’s nuclear weapons at a comparatively low level.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates China to have about 350 nuclear warheads, a fraction of the 5,550 possessed by the United States and the 6,255 by Russia.

But China’s warhead count has increased in recent years, up from 145 warheads in 2006 according to the institute.

The Pentagon predicts the Chinese stockpile to “at least double in size” over the next decade.

‘Deeply concerning’

A US State Department spokesperson described the apparent buildup as “deeply concerning,” noting that it raised questions as to China’s true intent.

“Despite the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) obfuscation, this rapid build-up has become more difficult to hide and highlights how China is deviating from decades of nuclear strategy based around minimum deterrence,” the spokesperson said.

“These advances highlight why it is in everyone’s interest that nuclear powers talk to one another directly about reducing nuclear dangers and avoiding miscalculation.”

A likely single Chinese missile silo with a construction dome over the top.
A likely single Chinese missile silo with a construction dome over the top. Credit: CNN

‘Race for more’

The FAS report said the creation of 250 new silos would move China out of the “minimum deterrence” category.

The build-up is anything but ‘minimum’ and appears to be part of a race for more nuclear arms to better compete with China’s adversaries,” wrote its authors Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen.

“The silo construction will likely further deepen military tension, fuel fear of China’s intentions, embolden arguments that arms control and constraints are naive, and that US and Russian nuclear arsenals cannot be reduced further but instead must be adjusted to take into account the Chinese nuclear build-up.”

Chinese officials have repeatedly said China will not use nuclear weapons unless first attacked, and that its nuclear forces are kept at “the minimum level required to safeguard national security.”

“This is the Chinese government’s consistent basic policy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in January.

Under this policy, China’s nuclear forces needs a credible second-strike capability as minimal deterrence.

Satellite view of a field of more than 100 missile silos which researchers say is under construction in the Chinese desert.
Satellite view of a field of more than 100 missile silos which researchers say is under construction in the Chinese desert.Credit: Planet Labs Inc. 

The idea is to ensure its adversaries that Beijing would be able to respond to a nuclear attack with a powerful counterattack, and thus deter them from attacking China.

But the “minimum” threshold appears to be shifting, analysts say – a point Chinese state media has not shied away from addressing.

“The US wants China to stick to the line based around minimal deterrence … But the minimum level would change as China’s security situation changes,” the Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid, said in an editorial published on July 2, after the silo field in Gansu was revealed.

The editorial advocated for China to increase its nuclear deterrence in light of what it termed “US military pressure on China,” pointing out that the US has “at least 450 silos.”

“Once a military confrontation between China and the US over the Taiwan question breaks out, if China has enough nuclear capacity to deter the US, that will serve as the foundation of China’s national will,” read the editorial.

Ni, the expert at China Policy Centre, said the rationale underpinning Beijing’s nuclear strategy has not changed.

It is still based on the idea of deterrence, instead of first use.

‘Perilous strategic situation’

But he noted that Beijing’s assessment of its strategic position has changed amid deteriorating relations with the US, and it is that sense of insecurity that has driven China toward nuclear expansion.

“It feels like it’s in a more perilous strategic situation that it needs to more rapidly arm itself with nuclear weaponry, and the latest discovery of the silos should be put into that context,” he said.

Satellite images appear to show four Chinese missile silos at various stages of construction.
Satellite images appear to show four Chinese missile silos at various stages of construction. Credit: CNN

The new apparent silo field is spread over 800 square kilometres of arid land near the city of Hami in eastern Xinjiang, and about 380 kilometres northwest of the other field in Gansu.

The silos in both fields are located approximately three kilometres apart in a grid pattern, meaning missiles could be moved quickly between silos.

Chinese experts, meanwhile, have dismissed the idea.

Song Zhongping, a former People’s Liberation Army instructor, was quoted by the state-run Reference News as saying the use of ground silos was a “clumsy” Cold War practice that had long been rendered “obsolete.”

“Now, the emphasis is on mobile launch, and the key is to ensure invulnerability,” he told the newspaper.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood.
US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood has urged China to join nuclear arms talks. Credit: AP

Arms control

In their report, Kristensen and Korda caution the US and other nations about building up their nuclear arsenals to counter increased Chinese capabilities.

“Even when the new silos become operational, the Chinese nuclear arsenal will still be significantly smaller than those of Russia and the United States,” the report said.

And if the US adds to its nuclear arsenal, China can do the same, the report said.

“More nukes are unlikely to fix this and might even make it worse. Arms control is a challenge, not least because China shows little interest,” Kristensen said in a tweet.

Thompson, the expert at the National University of Singapore, said he is concerned about the lack of government-to-government dialogue between Washington and Beijing on the nuclear issue, particularly in light of the change in China’s nuclear posture.

Such dialogues are essential for both sides to better understand each other’s doctrines and perspectives, and to reduce the risk of misperception and miscalculation, he said.

In an article last week, Louie Reckford, a policy adviser at Foreign Policy for America, a foreign policy advocacy group, called on the Biden administration to get China to the negotiating table to talk about nuclear weapons.

“It is possible to increase transparency and limit the dangers of nuclear weapons by engaging in consistent arms control dialogue,” he wrote.

‘Come to the table’

“China bears responsibility for responding to calls for their participation in such talks.

“But accelerating US nuclear weapons spending will only harden their position … The Biden-Harris administration and leaders across the political spectrum should be putting the pressure on China to come to the table.

“It was a bipartisan tradition to push for arms control during the Cold War.

“We cannot let that tradition be forgotten at a time when we need it most.”

Antichrist, Rival Ideologues Tussle for Power in Iraq

Sadr, Rival Ideologues Tussle for Power in Iraq

Monday, 2 August, 2021 – 06:30 

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr delivers a statement in support of early elections outside of his home in Najaf city, on February 10, 2021. (AFP)Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat

Head of the State of Law coalition, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been pressing for holding the parliamentary elections on time in October.

He has made a series of tweets to press his demand, even though he will not personally run in the polls, but his coalition will.

Maliki is not the only Shiite figure hoping the elections will be held as scheduled. Head of the al-Fatah coalition, Hadi al-Ameri has also been making the same demand.

Shiite forces are eager for the elections to be held on time, viewing them as an opportunity to make political gains after prominent cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from the race.

Sadr has notably only withdrawn from the elections, not announced a boycott. Moreover, he has not officially approached authorities to pull out from the polls, meaning the mercurial cleric could always still opt to participate.

Before he potentially makes such a move, Shiite powers are sending out the message that they are ready to step in and are capable of filling the void left behind the cleric. Ameri in particular has kicked off his electoral campaign, eyeing a sweep of parliament and the ultimate goal of naming a prime minister, who in Iraq must be a Sunni figure.

Ameri’s electoral agenda offers nothing new to the Iraqis, prompting criticism even from his own supporters. He made the same promises he and others had made in previous elections, none of which have been fulfilled.

Ameri prioritized the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, supporting armed formations and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), tackling unemployment and providing job opportunities, addressing water problems with neighboring countries, and others.

Meanwhile, efforts are underway to persuade Sadr to reverse his withdrawal decision. As it stands, he is waging a silent battle with his rival ideologues, who are hoping to win over the majority of his popular base during the elections.

The cleric and his rivals follow the same principles and ideological teachings of Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr, who was executed by the former regime in 1980, and Mohammed Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, Moqtada’s father who was assassinated in 1999.

An Iraqi politician, who is close to both sides, told Asharq Al-Awsat that various blocs and leaderships are attempting to persuade Sadr to go back on his withdrawal.

Others, who are seen as Sadr’s rival ideologues, are promoting the idea that they would win enough seats in parliament to allow them to name a new prime minister. Among these figures is Maliki. They believe that the opportunity is available for them to isolate Sadr.

The politician added, however, that Sadr views himself as the sole heir of the Sadr ideological legacy, meaning whoever veers away from his movement will no longer represent the Sadrists and their views.

This rivalry goes beyond elections. Differences exist over the US troop deployment.

Sadr had declared his support to the agreement reached last month between Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Washington over their pullout, while the armed factions expressed their opposition to it.

Tanker attack escalates undeclared ‘shadow war’ outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Tanker attack escalates undeclared ‘shadow war’ between Israel and Iran

As the two nations stalk each other on the seas, experts warn both sides must carefully calibrate their actions so as not to trigger an all-out war

The UK and US have blamed Iran for an attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker in which two crew members, including a British national, were killed.

The MV Mercer Street, which is operated by an Israeli-owned firm, was attacked last Thursday in a suspected drone strike off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. It appears to be “the latest escalation in an undeclared ‘shadow war’ between Israel and Iran”, the BBC says.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Iran of carrying out a “deliberate, targeted” assault that constituted “a clear violation of international law”, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was considering “next steps” with the UK and other allies, with “an appropriate response… forthcoming”, says NBC.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has condemned the allegations, saying this was not the first time Israel and its allies had made such claims.

“Wherever this regime has gone, it has brought with itself insecurity, terror and violence. Those responsible [for this attack] are the ones that allowed the Israeli regime to set foot in this region,” he said.

Despite Tehran’s denials, “there is little doubt” the attack was launched by Iran, said The Times in its leading article this morning. 

“Crippled by American sanctions, beset by growing domestic anger and frustrated that its export of terrorism and violence… Iran’s leadership has struck out in proxy retaliation for the restrictions and the attacks on its nuclear programme,” the newspaper said. “Not for the first time, it is risking a counterstrike by Israel.”

Israel and Iran have been engaged in tit-for-tat hostilities for decades, but tensions have flared in recent months.

When Israel and Hamas clashed in Gaza in May, Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, launched attacks with new Shehab drones, which had a strong resemblance to Iran’s Ababil 2 drone, prompting suspicions they had been supplied by Tehran. 

A month earlier, on 11 April, a power failure apparently caused by a deliberately planned explosion hit Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Iranian officials called it sabotage, blamed Israel and vowed revenge. “This is a crime against humanity and carrying out such actions is in line with the essence of the Zionist regime,” said Khatibzadeh at the time.

These events are “only the latest in a saga that has lasted – on and off – for almost the entire century”, says David Patrikarakos in the New Statesman. “Neither Iran nor Israel will yield. And while their governments lambast each other in public, they also stalk each other on the seas.”

At issue, centrally, are Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. When Iran and several world powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 after years of painstaking negotiations, Israel was among the few countries that opposed the agreement, arguing that it would not contain its adversary’s nuclear programme in the long term.

After the Trump administration left the deal in May 2018 and Iran stopped implementing its JCPOA commitments in response, Israel “escalated a shadow war with Iran to disrupt Iranian shipping and retard Iran’s nuclear advances”, says Sina Azodi on the Atlantic Councilblog. “That war has now come increasingly into the open and… could spark a wider conflict.”

Despite the growing hostilities, “the underlying theme of the shadow war is brinkmanship”, says BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner. “Neither side can afford to look weak but both Iran and Israel know they need to carefully calibrate their actions so as not to trigger an all-out war.”

The Iranian Horn since the Islamic revolution: Daniel 8

Iran since the Islamic revolution

AFP / Aug 3, 2021, 13:06 IST

TEHRAN: As Iran inaugurates its new president Ebrahim Raisi, a recap of the country’s landmark events since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy and established an Islamic republic.
After months of protests, on January 16, 1979, the US-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, leaves the country.
Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini makes a triumphant return from exile in Paris on February 1.
Ten days later, the Shah’s government falls. Public radio hails “the end of 2,500 years of despotism”.
An Islamic republic is proclaimed on April 1.
Radical students take 52 Americans hostage at the US embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, to protest the ex-shah’s admission to hospital in the United States.
Washington severs diplomatic relations in 1980. The hostages are only freed on January 21, 1981, after 444 days in captivity.
Iraq attacks Iran on September 22, 1980, after Iraqi president Saddam Hussein tears up a 1975 treaty on the strategic Shatt al-Arab waterway.
This triggers a gruelling eight-year war that is estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides.
It ends on August 20, 1988 with a UN-brokered ceasefire.
Khomeini dies on June 3, 1989. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, president since 1981, becomes supreme leader.
Moderate conservative Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected president.
Re-elected in 1993, he orchestrates a relative opening up of the government and post-war reconstruction.
Rafsanjani’s reformist successor, Mohammad Khatami, runs up against conservative opposition during his two terms from 1997 to 2005.
In 1999, the government faces the biggest protests since 1979, pitting pro-Khatami students against the police.
US president George W. Bush names Iran as part of an anti-American “axis of evil” with Iraq and North Korea, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
Populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is elected president in June 2005.
During his tenure, Iran resumes uranium enrichment. That alarms the West, which suspects Tehran of wanting to produce a nuclear weapon, something Iran has consistently denied.
A crackdown on nationwide protests against Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 hobbles the reformist movement.
The election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as president in 2013 marks a warming of international relations.
Iran reaches a deal on its nuclear programme with six world powers on July 14, 2015 after 21 months of negotiations.
It gives Tehran relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for limits on its atomic activities.
In January 2016, Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and its allies cut or scale back relations, after the Sunni kingdom’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
US president Donald Trump on May 8, 2018, abandons the nuclear deal and begins reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran.
A year later Tehran begins gradually stepping back from its own commitments.
On January 3, 2020, a US drone strike kills top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, heightening fears of a direct confrontation after a string of incidents involving Gulf shipping.
From February 2021, Iran and Israel — clashing for years directly or indirectly in Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip — engage in a battle at sea, accusing each other of a series of ship attacks from both sides.
Former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi wins the June presidential election when more than half the voters stay away after many political heavyweights are barred from standing.