Country Profile - Iran
Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979, when the monarchy was overthrown and clerics assumed political control under supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
The Iranian revolution put an end to the rule of the Shah, who had alienated powerful religious, political and popular forces with a programme of modernization and Westernization coupled with heavy repression of dissent.
Persia, as Iran was known before 1935, was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world, and the country has long maintained a distinct cultural identity within the Islamic world by retaining its own language and adhering to the Shia interpretation of Islam.
1794 – Mohammad Khan Qajar seizes power and founds the Qajar dynasty.
1921 – Military commander Reza Khan seizes power and is later crowned Reza Shah Pahlavi.
1941 – Britain and Russia occupy Iran during Second World War.
1953 – Coup engineered by British and US intelligence services after parliament nationalises mainly British-owned oil industry. Shah, who had fled into exile, returns.
1979 – Iranian revolution unseats the shah.
1980-1988 – Iran-Iraq war.
2002 – US President George W. Bush describes Iran, Iraq and North Korea as “the axis of evil”.
2004 – US says Iran’s nuclear programme is a growing threat and calls for international sanctions.
2016 – International economic sanctions are lifted after the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirms that Tehran had complied with its promises to scale back its nuclear activities.