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.