اطلاعات مربوط به کشور ايران Iran Information
Iran Information / Iran History
The ancient nation of Iran was historically known to the West as Persia until
March 21,1935 . Once a major empire in its own right, it has been overrun
frequently and has had its territory altered throughout the centuries. Invaded
by Arabs,Seljuk,Turks,Mongols, and others--and often caught up in the affairs of
larger powers--Iran has always reasserted its national identity and has
developed as a distinct political and cultural entity.
Archeological findings have placed knowledge of Iranian prehistory at middle
paleolithic times (100,000 years ago). The earliest sedentary cultures date from
18,000-14,000 years ago. The sixth millennium BC saw a fairly sophisticated
agricultural society and proto-urban population centers. Many dynasties have
ruled Iran, the first of which was under the Achaemenids (559 - 330 BC), a
dynasty founded by Cyrus the great. After the Hellenistic period (300 - 250 BC)
came the Parthian (250 BC - AD 226 ) and the Sassanid (226 - 651) dynasties.
The seventh century Arab-Muslim conquest of Iran was followed by conquests by
the Seljuk Turks, the Mongols, and Tamerlane . Iran underwent a revival under
the Safavid (1502-1736), the most prominent figure of which was Shah Abbas. The
conqueror Nadir Shah and his successors were followed by the Zand dynasty,
founded by Karim Kahn, and later the Qajar (1795-1925) and the Pahlavi dynasties
Modern Iranian history began with a nationalist uprising against the Shah (who
remained in power) in 1905, the granting of a limited constitution in 1906
(making the country a constitutional monarchy), and the discovery of oil in
1908. The key to the region was the British discovery of oil, see William Knox
D'Arcy and British Petroleum. Control of the region was disputed between Great
Britain and Russia, codified in an agreement of 1907 dividing the region into
spheres of influence.
During World War I the country was occupied by British and Russian forces but
was essentially neutral. In 1919, Britain attempted to establish a protectorate
in Iran, aided by the Soviet Union's withdrawal in 1921. In that year a military
coup established Reza Khan, an Iranian officer of the Persian Cossack Brigade,
as dictator and then herediatr shah of the new Pahlavi dynasty (1925). Reza Shah
Pahlavi, ruling for almost 16 years and installing the new Pahlavi dynasty,
thwarting the British attempt at control, and pushing to have the country
Under his reign, Iran began to modernize and to secularize politics, and the
central government reasserted its authority over the tribes and provinces.
During World War II , Iran was a vital link in the Allied supply line for
lend-lease supplies to the Soviet Union. In August, 1941, a combined British and
Soviet force occupied Iran. In September Reza abdicated in favour of his son
MuhammadReza Shah Pahlavi, who ruled until 1979.
At the Tehran Conference of 1943 the Tehran Declaration guaranteed the post-war
independence and boundaries of Iran. However when the war did end the Soviets
supported a revolt in the north which created the People's Republic of
Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People's Repubic in late 1945, both effective Soviet
puppet regimes. After World War II, Soviet troops stationed in northwestern Iran
not only refused to withdraw but backed revolts that established short-lived,
pro-Soviet separatist regimes in the northern regions of Azerbaijan and
Kurdistan. These were ended in 1946. The Azerbaijan revolt crumbled after U.S.
and UN pressure forced a Soviet withdrawal and Iranian forces suppressed the
Soviet troops did not withdraw from Iran proper until May, 1946 after receiving
a promise of oil concessions. The Soviet republics in the north were soon
overthrown and the oil concessions were revoked.
In 1951, Premier Mohammed Mossadeq, a militant nationalist, forced the
parliament to nationalize the British-owned oil industry. Despite British
pressure, including a economic blockade which caused real hardship, the
nationalization continued. The National Front leader, Muhammad Mussadegh, was
briefly forced from power in 1952 but quickly returned and forced the Shah to
flee. The Shah returned in mid-1953 and again forced Mussadegh from office on
August 19 with U.S.CIA support, Mussadegh was arrested and a new president was
In return for the US support the Shah agreed, in 1954, to allow an international
consortium of British (40%), American (40%), French (6%), and Dutch (14%)
companies to run the Iranian oil facilities for the next 25 years, with profits
shared equally. In other words, 0% of control or profits went to Iran. There was
a return to stability in the late 1950s and the 1960s. In 1957 martial law was
ended after 16 years and Iran became closer to the West, joining the Baghdad
Pact and receiving military and economic aid from the US. The Iranian government
began a broad program of reforms to modernize the country, notably changing the
quasi-feudal land system.
However the reforms did not greatly improve economic conditions and the liberal
pro-Western policies alienated certain Islamic religious and political groups.
From the mid-1960s the political situation was becoming increasingly unstable,
with organisations such as Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK) emerging. In 1961, Iran
initiated a series of economic, social, and administrative reforms that became
known as the Shah's White Revolution. The core of this program was land reform.
Modernization and economic growth proceeded at an unprecedented rate, fueled by
Iran's vast petroleum reserves, the third-largest in the world.
The Premier Hassan Ali Mansur was assassinated in 1965 and the internal security
service, SAVAC, became more violently active. It is estimated that 13,000-13,500
people were killed by the SAVAK during this period of time, and thousands more
were arrested and tortured. The Islamic clergy, headed by the Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini (who had been exiled in 1964), were becoming increasingly vociferous.
Internationally relations with Iraq fell into a steep decline, mainly due to a
dispute over the Shatt-al-Arab waterway which a 1937 agreement gave to Iraq.
Following a number of clashes in April, 1969, Iran abrogated the 1937 accord and
demanded a renegotiation. Iran greatly increased its defense budget and by the
early 1970s was the region's srongest military power. In November, 1971 Iranian
forces seized control of three islands at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, in
response Iraq expelling thousands of Iranian nationals.
In mid-1973, the Shah returned the oil industry to national control. Following
the Arab-Israeli War of October, 1973, Iran did not join the Arab oil embargo
against the West and Israel. Instead it used the situation to raise oil prices,
using the money gained for modernization and to increase defense spending.
In the early 1970s, the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq organisation assassinated
Tehran-based US military personnel and US civilians involved in military
contracts, seeking to weaken the regime and remove foreign influence.
A border dispute between Iraq and Iran was resolved with the signing of the
Algiers Accord on Mauch 6,1975.
However the economic improvements tended to only benefit a very small group and
succeeded in disaffecting the vast majority of the population, culminating in
widespread religious led protests throughout the late 1970s. There was
widespread religious and political opposition to the Shah's rule and
programs--especially SAVAK, the hated internal security and intelligence
service. Martial law was declared in September 1978 for all major cities but the
Shah recognized the erosion of his power-base and fled Iran on January16,1979.
On February 1,1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from France (after 15 years in
exile there and in Turkey and Iraq) to direct a revolution resulting in a new,
theocratic republic guided by Islamic principles, overthrowing the shah's
government on February 11 and becoming Iran's national religious leader. The new
government was extremely conservative. It nationalized industry and restored
Islamic traditions in culture and law. Western influence were banned and the
existing pro-West elite was quick to join the shah in exile. There were clashes
between rival religious factions and brutal repression quickly became
Supported by Mujaheddin-e-Khalq , militant Iranian students seized the US
Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 and held it until January 20,1981 (see
Iran hostage crisis). The Carter administration severed diplomatic relations and
imposed economic sanctions on April 7,1980 and later that month attempted a
rescue. A commando mission was aborted on April 25 after mechanical problems
grounded rescue helicopters and eight American troops were killed in a mid-air
collision. Then on May 24 the International Court of Justice called for the
hostages' release. Finally Ronald Reagan ended the crisis on the day of his
inauguration, agreeing to nearly all the Iranian terms.
On September 22 ,1980 Iraq invaded Iran.
In1981, Mujaheddin-e-Khalq detonated bombs in the head office of the Islamic
Republic Party and the Premier's office, killing 70 high-ranking Iranian
officials, including Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti (chief Justice), Mohammad-Ali
Rajaei (President), and Mohammad-Javad Bahonar (Premier).
Following Khomeini's death on June 3, 1989, the Assembly of Experts--an elected
body of senior clerics--chose the outgoing president of the republic, Sayid Ali
Khamenei, to be his successor as national religious leader in what proved to be
a smooth transition.
In August 1989, Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the speaker of the National
Assembly, was elected President by an overwhelming majority.
During the Gulf War (1991) the country remained relatively neutral, restricting
its action to the comdemnation of US and allowing Iraqi aircraft and refugees
into the country.
President Rafsanjani was re-elected in 1993 with a more modest majority; some
Western observers attributed the reduced voter turnout to disenchantment with
the deteriorating economy. Rafsanjani was succeeded in 1997 by the moderate
Mohammad Khatami. This led the country into a dangerous rift between a
government seeking reform and moderate liberalization against a clergy still
extremely conservative. Khatami was re-elected in June, 2001 but his efforts
have been repeatedly blocked by the religious Guardian Council.
The country is in a poor economic state and its associations with both
international terrorism and a potential nuclear capacity are unlikely to aid it.
While certain European countries seek to normalise relations the US is still
hostile. Average salary in Iran, is about 1200$/year.
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