Islamic Republic

During the reign of Reza Shah, a number of reforms were attempted to lay the basis of a modern state. Reza Shah initially enjoyed wide support, but some of his actions, such as taking away effective power from the Parliament, muzzling the press, and killing or exiling many of his former followers as well as of the influential religious clerics, soon led to considerable dissatisfaction in the country. His support of Hitler's Germany in WWII occasioned an Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. Reza Shah was forced to resign in favor of his son Mohammad Reza, and then he was exiled to an island off the coast of Africa.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi faced the difficult task of exercising his power over the large country. During his rule, his main initiatives included the land reform and the campaign against illiteracy. The country's power structure was also radically changed as part of the program called the "White Revolution". Soon after the war, the Majles passed an act, introduced by Mohammad Mosaddeq, nationalizing Iranian oil, and the British oil company withdrew. Mosaddeq's successful government, however, was brought down in the coup d'etat, staged on the American-British initiative. Many of Mohammad Reza Shah's policies had often been opposed by clerical leaders. The arrest of Ayatollah Khomeini touched off rioting. The riots were suppressed by force, and Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled, first to Turkey and then to Iraq and France. From there, he coordinated an upsurge of opposition, demanding the shah's abdication. Fifteen days before Ayatollah Khomeini's return, the shah fled Iran. The Regency and Supreme Army Councils, which were established to govern in the shah's absence, proved unable to function, and the government headed by the Prime Minister, Shahpur Bakhtiyar, could not control the country. Crowds of more than 1,000,000 demonstrated in Tehran in support of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Islamic Revolution and the national referendum that followed it proclaimed the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iranian political system

February 1, 1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran April 1, 1979-Ayatollah Khomeini declares the Islamic Republic

November 4, 1979 - Students storm the US Embassy November, 1979 - The republic's first Prime Minister Mahdi Bazargan resigns 1980 - Abolhasan Bani Sadr is elected president September 22, 1980 - Beginning of the Iran-Iraq War June, 1980 - Bani Sadr is removed from power and former prime minister Mohammad Ali Rajai is elected president

August 30, 1980 - President Rajai and his prime minister are killed in a bombing

1980 - Mohammad Reza Shah dies in Egypt

October, 1981 - Hojjat al-Islam Seyed Ali Khamenei is elected president

August 20, 1988 - Ceasefire is signed between Iran and Iraq June 3, 1989 - Ayatollah Khomeini's death June 4,1989 - Ayatollah Khamenei assumes the role of supreme spiritual leader; Hojjat al-Islam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected president 1993 - Rafsanjani is re-elected president

1995 - Total ban on trade with Iran by the USA

1997 - Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Khatami is elected president 2001 - Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Khatami is re-elected president 2005 - Mahmud Ahmadinezhad is elected president

Akbar Rafsanjani
Crown of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Iranian monarch, - today in the collection of the Jewelry Museum in Tehran.
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