A chronology of the Iranian Revolution (1978-79)
- From: "Joubin Houshyar" <Sun_of_27@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 16 Aug 2005 10:50:23 -0700
-- begin --
* 9 January:
The Shah publicly supported President Sadat's Middle East peace
proposals. In a statement in Aswan he declared that Egypt is doing
precisely what we believe is right"
* 11 January:
Iran lifted its trade boycott on Italy and Denmark imposed two
weeks ago in reprisal for attacks on Iranian diplomatic missions in
* 30 January:
An official of the Ministry of Education who was sentenced to
execution by firing squad for selling Iranian secrets to the Soviet
Union was granted a reprieve.
* 19 February:
Street battles lasting over 12 hours erupted unexpectedly in
Tabriz; six people were killed and 125 injured. The Govt the group
* 21 February:
Government spokesmen said that the death toll of the rioting in
Tabriz had risen from six to nine; an underground opposition religious
party claimed that more than 100 rioters were killed in clashes with
* 5 March:
The Shah stated in an interview that he was negotiating with the
Netherlands and West German Governments to buy frigates and submarines.
* 6 March:
The Iranian Ambassador and his staff were recalled from East
Berlin because of the refusal of the East German Government to
prosecute Iranian students who raided the Embassy and destroyed
* 5 April:
It was reported in Tehran that a US firm had signed a contract to
construct a harbour at the Chah Bahar naval base in south-east Iran.
* 12 April:
The USSR and Iran signed an agreement in Tehran to build a 488-km
section of the 1,420 km long gas pipeline from Kangan to Astara.
Approximately 17 billion cubic metres of gas will be exported to the
USSR when the pipeline is completed in 1980.
* 13 April:
The head of the country's Himalayan Federation announced that
Iranian mountaineers plan to climb Mount Everest from the Chinese side.
The expedition would be a joint one with China and the climb would take
* 9 May:
Serious rioting occurred in Qom and Tabriz.
* 10 May:
The Iranian Ministry of War signed an agreement with the British
Government-owned Millbank Technical Services for the construction in
Isfahan of a small-arms ammunition factory.
* 11 May:
Serious rioting spread to Tehran. Thousands of demonstrators,
after being harangued by religious leaders, marched through the bazaar
area. Police threw tear gas and fired over the heads of the crowd;
about 100 civilians were reported to have been injured. The Shah
postponed a visit to Hungary and Bulgaria planned for May 12.
* 25 May:
An explosion occurred at a newly drilled well in the Maroun
oilfield in south-west Iran. The resultant fire was still out of
control five days later, and was being fought by Mr "Red" Adair's
firefighting team from Texas.
* 4 July:
The Shah issued orders to ban members of the Royal Family from
business deals which would benefit them.
* 1 August:
Anti-Government demonstrations in 10 Iranian cities resulted in
seven deaths and the arrest of 115 people.
* 10 August:
In a press conference in Nowshahr, on the Caspian, the Shah
stated that his plan to restore free political activity, starting with
elections in June 1979, was irreversible, even if violence resulted.
Iranian papers had reported anti-Government riots in Tehran, Isfahan
* 11 August:
Martial law was declared in the city of Isfahan after riots
lasting all day. The Information Ministry said four people had been
killed and 66 injured. The riots were led by orthodox Muslims
protesting against the Government's liberalisation programme.
* 13 August:
Martial law was extended to the towns of Najafabad, Shareza and
Homayunshahr all in the province of Isfahan.
* 15 August:
The Shah announced an amnesty for 62 political detainees and 649
other prisoners to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of Dr
* 16 August:
Unrest spread to Tehran when the bazaar was closed by the
religious-dominated Shopkeepers Association. Troops were out in the
streets suppressing disorders. The Minister of Information, Mr Dariush
Homayoun, told a press conference in Tehran that the troubles were
"extremely well planned", with rioters being moved from city to city by
private transport. He said that there was evidence that Palestinian
extremists were involved. Demands were being made for the rigid
enforcement of Islamic law with the closure of cinemas, bars and night
clubs. The agitators opposed television and the emancipation of women.
* 20 August:
A cinema in Abadan was set on fire during a film performance by
four incendiary bombs at the four Corners; 430 people were killed .
* 27 August:
The Shah dismissed the Government of Mr Jamshid Amouzegar and
appointed as Prime Minister Mr Jaafar Sharif-Emami. The move was
prompted by the disorders in the principal cities. Mr Sharif-Emami, who
had been Prime Minister in 1960-61, was chosen because of his
reputation for personal integrity and because of his close links with
religious leaders. On his appointment he was charged by the Shah to
give priority to Islamic traditions. As a gesture in this direction it
was announced that the new "Imperial" calendar introduced in 1976 had
been abandoned in favour of the traditional Islamic lunar calendar. The
new Government of 22 included only five former ministers. A former head
of the Gendarmerie, General Arteshbod Gharebaghi, became Minister of
the Interior; Mr Amir Khosrow Afshar, a career diplomat formerly
Ambassador in London replaced Mr Abbas Ali Khalatbari as Foreign
Minister. (For full list see part 3).
* 28 August:
The new Prime Minister, in an attempt to calm the country after
months of rioting by Islamic extremists, announced that all casinos and
gambling clubs would be closed.
* 29 August:
Chairman Hua Kuo-feng arrived in Tehran for a four-day visit. He
was heavily guarded at the airport and on his way to the city. At a
banquet in his honour he praised the Shah's leadership, called for
increased cooperation between the two countries and condemned the
"aggression and expansionism of the big powers." His only reference to
foreign policy was to the Chinese principle that the security of the
Indian Ocean and the Gulf should be the sole responsibility of the
* 30 August:
Chairman Hua Kuo-feng and the Shah discussed security and
political developments in the Gulf and the situation in Afghanistan.
* 31 August:
Fighting between security forces and Islamic rioters in the city
of Mashhad caused two deaths. In Tehran a bank was set on
fire.President Hua Kuo-feng had a private talk with the Shah lasting an
hour and 40 minutes. He also signed a cultural agreement.
* 1 September:
Chairman Hua Kuo-feng left Iran to return to Peking. He cabled
thanks from his aircraft to the Shah for what he described as a "very
fruitful" visit but no joint communique was issued. Official sources in
Tehran attributed this to a desire on the Iranian side not to stir up
the sensibilities of Moscow.
* 6 September:
A terrorist attack was made on a police station in Tehran; one
policeman was killed.
* 7 September:
A demonstration against the Shah in Tehran was estimated at
* 8 September:
Tehran and 11 other Iranian cities were placed under martial law.
Violent demonstrations in the capital caused 58 deaths according to
official figures; unofficial estimates ranged up to 250. The casualties
resulted principally from troops firing on the crowds; in addition over
100 cases of arson were reported in which banks, cinemas, police
stations, shops and other buildings were destroyed. The armed forces
commander, General Gholam Ali Oveissi, was appointed military Among
opposition leaders are the right-wing National Front and the leader of
the Radical Maraghei.
* 10 September:
Troops fired on demonstrators defying a martial law ban on public
rocessions in the city of Qom. In Teheran nine members of Parliament
walked out in protest against the loss of life in the suppression of
disturbances there. Prime Minister appealed for a vote of confidence
affirming his faith in the Constitution and in the principles of Islam;
he claimed the disturbances were caused by extremists abusing the
measures of liberalisation which the Shah had introduced in August.
* 11 September:
In the cities of Mashhad and Qom demonstrators were fired on by
the army, resulting in two and three deaths respectively.
* 16 September:
The Shah received a letter from the British Prime Minister, Mr
Callaghan, expressing his Government's sympathy over the recent
violence and expressing the hope that Iran's progress towards democracy
would not be interrupted. When the text was issued protests were made
in Britain by two Labour MPs.
* 17 September:
An earthquake destroyed the city of Tabas in the province of
Khorassan. The first estimate of the number of people killed was I
1,000.The introduction of martial law in 12 cities was approved by
Parliament by a majority of 152 to 22; 18 opposition members walked
out. The nightly curfew was cut by 90 minutes and a Government
spokesman said the situation was returning to normal.
September: Empress Farah visited the area around Tabas which had
been devastated by earthquake. The official estimates of deaths rose to
between 15,000 md 18,000.
* 20 September:
The Shah visited Tabas and was received with acclamation by
survivors of the earthquake.
* 26 September:
The British Ambassador in Tehran, Sir Anthony Parsons, reaffirmed
British support for the Shah. Speaking at the British Day of the
International Trade Fair there he said that his Government had been
heartened by the determination which the Iranian Government had shown
to maintain the country's stability, security and progress along the
paths mapped out by the Shah.
* 1 October:
Colonel Mortexa Zamanipoor, a police station commander, was
assassinated in Mashhad while taking his son to school.
* 2 October:
The Government declared an amnesty for all persons engaged in
"anti-state" activities. It included students abroad and exiles,
including the Shi'ite Moslem leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.
* 3 October:
The Government promised to meet in full the demands of striking
bank, telecommunications and oil-refinery workers.
* 6 October:
Opening the new session of Parliament, the Shah declared that
progress towards democracy would "certainly continue". He intended to
extend the liberalisation process further.
* 8 October:
Rioting broke out again in several towns. In Tebran the police
clashed with university students.
* 9 October:
Rioting in the cities of Amol and Babol on the Caspian sea coast
was suppressed at the cost of three lives.
* 11 October:
In Tehran journalists staged a lightning strike against military
censorship. Troops fired on students demonstrating outside the
university; three were reported killed.
* 13 October:
The Minister of State for Executive Affairs, Mr Manouchehr
Azmoun, announced that the Government had accepted the demands of
striking journalists for the lifting of censorship.
* 16 October:
Shops and businesses throughout the country were closed in
mourning for the rioters killed in Tehran in September.
* 17 October:
Rioting continued in the provinces while Tehran remained quiet.
* 19 October:
Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the Shi'ite community
and the principal opponent of the Shah, said in an interview in Paris
that he was prepared to urge his followers to armed rebellion to
establish an Islamic Republic. He discounted the influence of Marxists
in the current unrest.
* 22 October:
In riots in Hamadan and Bushehr at least six people were killed
by police fire.
* 23 October:
The Government announced that on October 26, the Shah's birthday,
1,451 prisoners would be released including 1,126 political detainees.
The Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammad Baheri, said that those released
would be fully compensated for their detention and would be entitled to
return to their former jobs. A press interview given in Paris by
Ayatollah Khomeini was criticised by Iranian opposition leaders as
likely to cause a split. Particular objection was taken to the
Ayatollah's demand for the abolition of the monarchy.
* 24 October:
The Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of the Majlis
bitterly criticised the British Foreign Secretary, Dr Owen, for
supporting "alien and antiIranian policies" in his recent statement of
support for the Shah. The US Deputy Defence Secretary, Mr Charles
Duncan, arrived in Tehran for confidential talks on the subject of a
possible reduction in Iranian arms contracts with the US.
* 26 October:
The Shah's 59th birthday celebrations'were marred by street
rioting in Tehran and other cities.
* 27 October:
Five deaths and scores of injuries were reported in worsening
anti-Government violence in many areas. In Isfahan tanks and armoured
cars were employed against rioters.
* 29 October:
The Government dismissed or forcibly retired 34 senior officials
of Savak, the state security and intelligence organisation. Among them
was the second-in-command, Mr Parveez Sabeti. Young men set fire to a
cinema in Tehran. Eight persons were killed in clashes in 37 provincial
* 30 October:
The Shah made two more changes in the Cabinet. Mr Hossein Najafi,
the Prosecutor-General, replaced Mr Mohammad Baheri as Minister of
Justice and Mr Mustapha Payedar, a senior official, replaced Mr
Manouchehr Azmoun as Minister of State for Executive Affairs. Mr Karim
Sanjabi, leader of the opposition National Front Party, conferred in
Paris with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shia religious leader. The
Ayatollah had told a French newspaper that he favoured the replacement
of the Shah by an Islamic Republic; Mr Sanjabi was believed to prefer a
reformed monarchical system. No statement was issued after the meeting.
Workers at the Abadan refinery went on strike.
* 31 October:
Further wide-spread strikes halted completely the flow of oil.
The strikers, who demanded an end to martial law and the release of all
political prisoners, brought to a standstill oil wells, natural gas
plants, the in Tehran. Troops opened fire on students outside the
university, vehicles were set on fire in the streets and banks and
Government buildings were attacked.
* 5 November:
Riotous mobs burned down large areas of Tehran. Banks, cinemas,
night clubs, hotels and liquor stores were particular targets. The
British Embassy was set on fire. The US Embassy was attacked but the
rioters were beaten off by heavily-armed troops. Elsewhere, although
troops were present in force, they were reported to have allowed the
fire-raising to proceed. The Prime Minister, Mr Jaafar Sharif-Emami,
offered his resignation which was accepted.
* 6 November:
The Shah broadcast to the nation on radio and television to
announce that, having been unable to form a civilian coalition
government, he had appointed a military one. It was headed by General
Gholam Reza Azhari, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces since 1971.
Other military figures included in the Government were General Gholam
Ali Oveissi, Military Governor of Tehran (Labour and Social Affairs),
General Iraj Moghaddam, head of the Security Police (Energy), General
Arteshbod Gharebaghi (Interior), General Abdol Hassan Sa'adatmand
(Information and Tourism) and General Reza Amini (War). Three former
civilian ministers were retained: Amir Khosrow Afshar (Foreign
Affairs), Mr Reza Amin (Industry) and Mr Karim Motamedi (Posts and
Telecommunications). In a later broadcast General Azhari called on
religious leaders to cooperate with him to restore order and security
and to combat corruption. In Paris Ayatollah Khomeini, the exiled
religious leader, declared that the only solution was the abdication of
the Shah and the establishment of an Islamic republic. He called on the
army to disobey orders to confront the rioters.
* 7 November:
The military Government ordered the arrest of 32 former Ministers
and officials on charges of corruption and oppression.
* 8 November:
The military authorities arrested Mr Amir Abbas Hoveyda who was
Prime Minister for most of the preceding 13 years and was regarded as
being very close to the Shah. An official announcement said that he was
being held under a martial law regulation which provided for the
indefinite arrest without trial of any suspect.
* 9 November:
Shia Muslim religious leaders rejected the military Government's
invitation to collaborate and urged the faithful to continue struggling
against tyranny and injustice. The Prime Minister announced that a
commission had been set up to investigate the financial affairs of the
* 11 November:
Dr Karim Sanjabi, leader of the opposition National Front, a
coalition of five parties, was arrested in Tehran.
* 12 November:
General Boghrat Jaffarian, the Governor of the province of
Khuzestan in which most of the oil industry is concentrated, warned oil
workers to abandon their strike under threat of dismissal.
* 13 November:
The Iranian news agency said that although the majority of the
oil workers were still on strike production had risen to 27 million
barrels per day.
* 14 November:
Troops opened fire on rioters in the bazaar quarter of Tehran. In
the oil producing areas some workers returned to work and production
recovered. Refinery output was normal.
* 16 November:
General Gholam Reza Azhari appointed eight more civilians to his
Cabinet, thereby producing a civilian majority. A spokesman for the
state oil company NIOC reported a continued slow progress in returning
the irdustry to normality.
November: The Government of General Azhari was given a vote of
confidence in Parliament by 191 to 27 with six abstentions. The
majority was larger than expected.
* 24 November:
Troops in Shiraz were reported to have killed 15 persons in
suppressing anti-monarchist riots.
* 26 November:
Severe rioting was reported at Gorgan on the A document published
by striking employees of the Central Bank purported to show that in the
two months ending in mid-October about $2,500 million had been sent out
of the country by people in high positions, including politicians,
members of the royal family and generals.
* 28 November:
General Gholam Reza Azhari announced in a broadcast that all
processions would be banned in the Shi'ite mourning month of Moharram,
starting on December 3. At the same time he promised that his
Government planned to abrogate all laws that did not conform to Islamic
principles and that future laws would be drafted "with the guidance of
the great ayatollahs" (the senior Muslim clergy).
* 1 December:
Large numbers of Muslims, defying both the curfew and the ban on
public demonstrations during Muharram, were out on the streets in
Tehran. Troops opened fire and dispersed the crowds; no figures for
casualties were reported.
* 2 December:
There were further violent scenes in Tehran but casualties were
reported to be fewer than on the previous night.
* 3 December:
Violent rioting continued in Tehran for the third night running.
An official announcement put casualties on the first two days at 12
killed and 55 wounded; the figure being put about by the opposition was
December: In a strongly-worded statement, the Ministry of
Information denied reports that the Shah intended to abdicate and hand
over power to a Regency Council acting for his son.
* 6 December:
Dr Karim Sanjabi, opposition leader of the National Front Party,
was released from detention and the Government promised to release a
further 452 prisoners. Ayatollah Khomeini, the exiled leader of the
Shi'ite Muslims, declared in a press interview in Neauphle-le-Chateau
near Paris that he would not be bound by restrictions which the French
Government attempted to impose on him; there were other places where he
could go and continue his work.
* 7 December:
Large numbers of foreigners crowded the airport at Tehran in an
attempt to leave. The numbers who had left over the past ten weeks were
estimated at 8,000 including 5,500 Americans.
* 10 December:
A demonstration whose numbers were estimated by foreign press
observers at a million was mounted in Tehran. Slogans called for an
Islamic constitution and an end to dictatorship; there were also
anti-American slogans. Similar demonstrations in comparable numbers
were mounted in Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan and other cities. The army was
under orders not to intervene.
* 11 December:
A further demonstration, estimated at the same size as on the
previous day, took place in Tehran. In Isfahan crowds attacked the
headquarters of Savak, the secret police, and five people were killed
by troops' fire; all the cinemas in the city were reported to have been
* 12 December:
Further violence in Isfahan resulted in an estimated 10 deaths;
liquor stores, restaurants, hotels, the town hall and five banks were
attacked and seriously damaged.
* 14 December:
Ayatollah Khomeini, the religious leader, issued a statement from
his French exile rejecting proposals for the formation of a Regency
Council to rule until the elections of June 1979. The Prime Minister,
General Azhari, said in a broadcast that all demonstrations were banned
whether against or in favour of the Shah. He also threatened severe
measures against strikers.
* 18 December:
It was reported from Tabriz that an army unit was recalled to
barracks after some troops refused to obey orders. This was the first
instance reported of insubordination in the army.
* 19 December:
Oil production, which had continued to rise over the past week,
reached 3,400,000 barrels per day, compared with a normal 5,800,000.
The Shah was reported to be considering the appointment of a civilian
* 21 December:
The Majlis (Parliament) was adjourned until January 14.
* 23 December:
An American and two Iranians were shot and killed in Ahwaz. The
American, Mr Paul Grimms, was deputy head of the Oil Service
Corporation of Iran.
* 25 December:
Dr Gholam Hussein Sadighi, who had been charged by the Shah with
examining the possibilities of forming a civilian government, asked for
more time. To facilitate his task he reportedly obtained concessions
from the Shah over the lifting of press censorship and legal action
against former Ministers accused of corruption.
* 26 December:
Oil output was reported to be reduced to 500,000 barrels a day,
about a tenth of normal and insufficient to meet domestic demand. There
were violent clashes on the streets of Tehran, in particular between
troops and students.
* 27 December:
The Government imposed rationing of petrol and paraffin. Iran Air
was grounded by a strike declared as total and indefinite; Pan American
Airlines suspended flights to Tehran.
* 29 December:
Dr Gholam Hussein Sadighi announced that he had failed to form a
government. The Shah asked Mr Shahpur Bakhtiar to attempt the task.
* 30 December:
British, American and other foreign-owned buildings were attacked
by crowds in four provincial capitals. In Ahwaz, Shiraz and Mashhad
offices of the British Council were attacked, and in Tabriz the
American Consulate; the Turkish Consulate General in Tabriz was totally
destroyed by fire. The Shah's 92-year old mother was flown to San
Francisco for medical treatment. General Gholam Reza Azhari tendered
his resignation as Prime Minister in order to make way for a political
solution. Dr Shahpur Bakhtiar, the Prime Minister designate, said in an
interview with French television that the Shah would leave Iran "on
holiday" a month after the new government took office and would
nominate a council to exercise power in his absence. He would not
abdicate nor give up the command of the armed forces but he would
probably be absent for "at least eighteen months."
* 1 January:
The Shah made his first public appearance for two months when he
received the world press at his Tehran palace. He gave interviews in
company with the Empress and they were filmed for television. In reply
to questions he said he would very much like to take a holiday if the
situation permitted. Western embassies advised foreigners to leave; but
flights were disrupted by a strike of air-traffic controllers.
* 3 January:
Dr Shahpur Bakhtiar's nomination as Prime Minister was accepted
by both Houses of Parliament. In a press conference afterwards he
referred to the Shah's decision to leave the country as irrevocable and
said that he would be glad, and honoured, if Ayatollah Khomeini would
return from exile. Buckingham Palace announced the cancellation of a
three-day visit to Iran by the Queen planned for February.
* 6 January:
Dr Shahpur Bakhtiar announced the composition of his new Cabinet,
which consisted mainly of technocrats. A career diplomat. Mr Ahmed
Mirfendereski, became Foreign Minister, Mr Rostam Pirasteh, a Managing
Director of the International Bank of Iran, Minister of Finance and
General Feridun Djam, a former Chief of Staff, Minister of War. As
Minister of Industry and Mines Dr Bakhtiar announced the appointment of
Mr Abbas Qoli Bakhtiar, a distant relation regarded as one of the
country's most talented chemical engineers.
* 9 January:
The Shah issued a decree that members of the royal family should
turn over all their personal property to the Pahlavi Foundation for the
use of religious, educational, social and welfare organisations.
* 10 January:
The Shah appointed General Abdol Ali Badrei as commander of the
armed forces in replacement of General Oveissi who resigned and left
the country. US sources said that 30,000 US citizens had left Iran
during the past two months. About 12,000 remained.
* 11 January:
In Shiraz, where martial law had been lifted by the Bakhtiar
Government, crowds attacked the US Consulate and burned down the Savak
building; eight deaths were reported.
* 14 January:
The British Government demanded £250,000 in compensation for the
damage done to the Embassy in Tehran which was set on fire on November
5. The Iranian Government agreed in principle.
* The Ayatollah Khomeini announced from his exile near Paris that
he had established what he called a Provisional Revolutionary Islamic
Council whose function would be to oversee elections to a constituent
assembly. The names were not disclosed.
* 15 January:
Dr Bakhtiar's Government received the support of the Senate by 38
votes to 1.
* 16 January:
The Shah left Tehran by air with the Empress Farah, ostensibly
for a rest abroad. He was taken by helicopter from the palace to the
airport and embarked at 12.15 p.m. on an aircraft of the royal flight
for Aswan, Egypt, taking the controls himself. The Prime Minister, Dr
Bakhtiar, court officials and senior army officers saw him off. On
arrival in A swan he was greeted by President Sadat with full
ceremonial. In a parting message he said that he needed a rest and felt
he could leave now that the new Government had been confirmed by
Parliament. The length of his absence would depend on the state of his
health. Earlier, the lower House of the Majlis had endorsed Dr
Bakhtiar's Government by 142 votes to 43 with 15 abstentions. When the
news of the Shah's departure became generally known large crowds
appeared on the streets to celebrate. Statues of the Shah and his
father were pulled down. Many of the crowds waved photographs of the
Ayatollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah announced from his French exile that
his next aim was to overthrow the new Government and the Regency
Council. He said he would shortly set up a provisional government to
organise elections for the ratification of a new Islamic and republican
* 18 January:
The Prime Minister warned Ayatollah Khomeini that if he tried to
seize power a coup d'etat by the army would result. In Paris the
Ayatollah refused to see the head of the Regency Council, Mr Sayed
Jalaleddin Tehrani; he said he would only grant him an audience if he
had come to submit his resignation.
* 19 January:
In Tehran a demonstration estimated at a million strong marched
through the streets to demand an Islamic Republic.
* 20 January:
The Ayatollah Khomeini announced in NeauphleIc-Château, near
Paris, where he had lived since October 1978, that he would return to
Tehran in time for prayers on Friday January 26.
* 22 January:
Dr Sayed Jalaleddin Tehrani, the head of the Regency Council
announced in Paris that he had resigned from his post. He informed
Ayatollah Khomeini of this in a letter and asked for an interview. The
Ayatollah replied with a demand that he should declare publicly that he
considered the Council to be illegal. Complying with this, he read out
a brief letter to this effect to the Ayatollah and his entourage at
Neauphle-le-Cháteau; he was granted a ten-minute interview.
* The Shah left Egypt for Morocco.
* 24 January:
The Prime Minister was reported to have sent a letter to the
Ayatollah Khomeini by the hand of a personal messenger in which he
offered the prospect of a constitutional assembly on condition that the
Ayatollah delayed his return to Tehran by three weeks. Meanwhile troops
with tanks and armoured cars closed the airport to prevent an Iran Air
airliner from flying to Paris to pick him up; vital parts of the
engines of several aircraft were also removed to prevent them from
taking off. The Shah, speaking in Marrakesh, said his intention was to
stay in Morocco and not to go to the US.
* 25 January:
While the airport of Tehran was kept closed to prevent the return
of the Ayatollah Khomeini, a large demonstration in favour of the
Bakhtiar Government marched through the streets to the Majlis.
Pro-Government demonstrations were also held in other cities without
* 27 January:
The Prime Minister announced in a nation-wide broadcast, that he
would fly to Paris for talks with the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah
announced that he had postponed his return to Tehran.
* 28 January:
Contradicting a statement put out by two members of his staff,
the Ayatollah Khomeini declared in vigorous terms that he would not
receive the Prime Minister unless he first resigned his office. The
news caused further violent demonstrations in the streets of Tehran.
Troops opened fire when attacked by crowds as they were protecting a
police headquarters; over 30 people were reported killed and about 160
* 1 February:
The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tebran by air. He was met by
large crowds who also lined the route to the Behesh Zahra cemetery
where he went to honour those who died in the anti-Government riots. In
a vigorous speech at the cemetery he attacked both Parliament and the
Bakhtiar Government as illegal; he also criticised the United States
and appealed to the army to join the revolutionary cause.
* 2 February:
Dr flak htiar offered to discuss with Ayatollah Khomeini the
fonnatlo. of a government of national unity.
* 3 February:
The Mayor of Tehran, Mr Javad Shahrestani, sent a letter of
resignation to Ayatollah Khomeini who replied immediately saying that
he reappointed him as mayor.
* 4 February:
Ayatollah Khomeini announced that he would declare a holy war if
all .attempts at a peaceful settlement failed. The Prime Minister, Dr
Bakhtiar, in a radio interview said that he did not believe in a holy
war of Moslem against Moslem but that if violence broke out he would
answer a bullet with a bullet. Prime Minister, had succeeded in
escaping abroad; steps would be taken for his extradition,
* 27 February:
Mr Hani al-Hassan, the new Ambassador for the Palestine
Liberation Organisation in Tehran, said that the new leadership, and
especially the Ayatollah Khomeini, had made the liberation of Jerusalem
one of its foremost religious and moral commitments. He said that he
expected an uprising in Turkey similar to what had happened in Iran.
* 28 February:
The Ayatollah Khomeini declared in what was styled a farewell
speech in Tehran that he was about to retire to the holy city of Qom.
He said that a referendum on the proposal for an Islamic republic would
be held between March 21 and 24.
* 1 March:
The Ayatollah Khomeini was welcomed back to his native city of
Qom by a crowd estimated at a million strong. In a speech at the
Theological Seminary he denounced the idea of democracy in Iran and
demanded a pure Islamic state.
* 5 March:
Four generals, two colonels and a civilian were executed by
firing squads in Tehran after a secret trial by a Revolutionary
Tribunal. Oil exports were resumed, the day chosen being the 12th
anniversary of the death of Prime Minister Mossadeq who nationalised
the oil industry in 1951. The first oil was loaded on a
Liberian-registered tanker chartered by the Japanese Mitsui company.
* 7 March:
The Ayatollah Khomeini strongly attacked Mr Bazargan, whom he
nominated as Prime Minister, in a speech to the Qom theological
college. He condemned the idea of a democratic republic because it
would be influenced by Western ideas.
* 9 March:
Ayatollah Khomeini in a Friday sermon in Qom called Mr Mehdi
Bazargan a weak Prime Minister. He also made a violent attack on women.
Mr Bazargan drove to Qom with six of his ministers and offered his
resignation, he withdrew it after the Ayatollah had undertaken to make
an effort to ensure that the Government had greater control over the
revolutionary committees. Two more senior army officers and a member of
the secret police were executed by firing squad in Tehran after
appearing before a Revolutionary Tribunal.
* 13 March:
The Government formally notified Britain, France and the US that
it was withdrawing from the Central Treaty Organisatlois. This left
Turkey as the only surviving Asian member. Another 12 persons were
executed by firing squad after appearing before an Islamic
Revolutionary Tribunal. Among them were two civil servants of the
state-owned radio and television network, condemned to death for
"intellectualising the Shah's régime".
* 14 March:
Despite entreaties by the Bazargan Government, Islamic
Revolutionary Tribunals continued to order executions. Five people
including a general were shot. Mr Mehdi Bazargan, in a national
television and radio broadcast, complained of a lack of cooperation and
a lack of realism that could destroy the revolution.
* 15 March:
The former Prime Minister, Amir Abbas Hoveyda. was brought before
an Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal in the early hours of the morning. He
was accused of corruption and war against God. The proceedings were
adjourned after four hours in consequence of a threat by the Prime
Minister, Mr Bazargan, that he would resign finally if the executions
carried out by orders of the tribunals were not stopped. Two Americans,
Mr Ralph Schoenman and Miss Kate Millett, the feminist leader, were
deported for activities against the Iranian revolution.
* 16 March:
The Ayatollah Khomeini issued an order from his headquarters in
the Qom theological seminary suspending all trials before the Central
Revolutionary Court in Tehran; provincial Revolutionary Courts would be
allowed to hold trials but the verdicts would be suspended. In the
preceding five weeks 65 people had been executed after appearing before
Revolutionary Tribunals, 49 for political and 16 for sexual offences.
The ostensible reason given for the suspension was that there was now
no urgency in carrying out sentences.
* 19 March:
A brief cease-fire was arranged in the town of Sanandaj but it
was soon broken and the Kurdish "quite limited" strength. He also
announced a ban on imports of cars, alcoholic drinks, pork and certain
luxury items. general amnesty now that over 200 people had been
executed by Revolutionary Tribunals since it would enable his
Government to deal with pressing economic problems
* 22 April:
Fighting between representatives of the Kurdishspeaking and
Turkish-speaking minorities broke out in Naghadeh near the frontier
with Iraq and Turkey. About seventy people were reported killed. It was
announced in Tehran that Dr Ebrahim Yazdi had been appointed Acting
Minister of Foreign Affairs in replacement of Dr Karim Sanjabi.
* 30 April:
It was announced that on orders from Ayatollah Khomeini
diplomatic relations with Egypt had been broken off.
* 6 May:
Ayatollah Khomeini announced the formation of a special force of
Islamic Revolutionary Guards that would have wide powers to support
liberation movements and spread Iran's Islamic Revolution throughout
Twenty-one men were executed by firing squad in Tehran after
appearing before an Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal, the largest single
batch in one day. They included a general, two ministers and a former
Speaker of the lower house of the Majlis. They were all accused of
warring against God and insulting the Imam, a title being increasingly
used for Ayatollah Khomeini.
* 13 May:
Ayatollah Sadeg Khalkhali, the head of the Central Revolutionary
Court, announced that the Shah and some others of his supporters
outside the country had been sentenced to death by the Iranian nation
and that anyone who killed them could not be arrested by a foreign
government because he would be "carrying out the orders of Iran's
Islamic Revolutionary Court". Other names on the list included the
Empress Farah, the Shah's brother Gholam Reza, his mother-in-law
Farideh Diba, the former Ambassador in Washington, Ardeshir Zahedi, and
three former Prime Ministers, Shahpur Bakhtiar, Gholam Reza Azhari and
* 23 May:
Dr Mehdi Bazargan said he was in favour of a general amnesty now
that over 200 people had been executed by revolutionary Tribunals since
it would enable his government to deal with pressing economic problems.
* 30 May:
Heavy fighting broke out in Khorramshahr, the country's principal
port, between Arabs who form the majority of the population of the town
and the revolutionary militia assisted by naval and airforce units. A
part of the dock installations was destroyed and about 80 people were
reported killed. The Governor of Khuzestan province, Rear Admiral Ahmad
Madani, ordered a curfew. The Situation was regarded as particularly
dangerous since the Arabs, the largest ethnic group in Khuzestan,
provide the bulk of the workers in the oil industry.
* 2 June:
In Ahvaz, Tabriz and Masjid-e-Suleiman three Generals and nine
other former officers were executed by firing squad. Three officers
were shot in Qom.
* 5 June:
Iraqi aircraft attacked four Iranian villages with napalm and
rockets near the border town of Sardasht. It was presumed that the
reason for the attack was to punish Iranian Kurds for support of the
revolt of their fellow tribesmen in Iraq.
* 12 June:
AyatoHah Khomeini warned the Soviet Ambassador in Tehran against
interference by his Government in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
* 17 June:
Ayatollah Khomeini declared in a radio broadcast that those
Iranians who were calling for a Constituent Assembly to debate the
proposed new constitution were involved in a deep conspiracy against
* 18 June:
The draft constitution proposed for the Islamic Republic of Iran
was officially published. Under it the President would have virtually
unlimited powers. The Shi'ite clergy would be given a dominating
position. The draft was declared by Ayatollah Khomeini to be unsuitable
for submission to popular debate in a Constituent Assembly; it would
instead be approved by a referendum.
* 26 June:
Tehran Radio announced that renewed unrest in Kurdistan had
caused 10 deaths. A mass meeting of Kurds in the town of Saqqez
protested against the new draft constitution for an Islamic Republic.
* 10 July:
The cancellation by Ayatollah K homeini of a Government order
dismissing General Rahimi of the Military Police was accepted by the
Minister of Defence, General Taqi Riahi who declared that he did so
because the position of the Ayatollah was above that of himself and of
the Government. The Minister of Economics, Mr All Ardalan, announced
that the National Iranian Oil Company had dropped compulsory invoicing
in dollars and would accept other hard currencies.
* 12 July:
Three women accused of organising prostitution were executed in
Tehran, the first women logo before a firing squad. Attacks by Arab
dissidents in the province of K huzestan continued and demonstrations
demanding autonomy were held in Khorramshahr, in some of the latter the
Arab-speaking autonomists were flanked by delegations from the Kurdish
movement for autonomy.
* 15 July:
Ten people were killed and over 50 injured in fighting between
Arabs and Iranians in Khorramshahr. Three Arabs were executed for
exploding a bomb in a mosque, killing six and injuring 60. The Governor
of Khorramshahr resigned.
* 16 July:
The Minister of Defence, General Taqi Riahi, submitted his
resignation as a result of his having been over-ruled by Ayatollah
Khomeini in the matter of the dismissal of General Rahimi, Encouraged
by this General Rahimi offered to take over the supreme command against
rebels in Kurdestan and Khuzestan.
* 19 July:
The Ayatollah Khomeini reversed a previous decision and dismissed
the Commander of the Military Police, Brig.-General Saif Amir Rahimi.
* 31 July:
Dr Shahpur Bakhtiar, the last Prime Minister before the Islamic
Revolution, emerged from six months in hiding to give a press
conference in Paris. He said that there was now no government in the
country, only a chaotic conflict of feudatories. He regarded himself as
still the legitimate head of government although he spoke
sympathetically of Mr Bazargan who was powerless to influence events.
* 13 August:
Moslem militants numbering tens of thousands took to the streets
in Tehran and sacked the headquarters of the (Marxist) Fedayeen and of
the Socialist Workers Party (Trotskyist) and, at the University, the
library and the school of Law. They attacked with less success the
headquarters of the (Moscow Communist) Tudeh Party. It was a
counter-protest against the demonstration on the preceding day in
favour of greater freedom for the press.
* 14 August:
The former Prime Minister. Dr Sbahpur Bakhtiar, gave an interview
in Paris in which he forecast the downfall of the Khomeini régime.
* 16 August:
Kurdish rebels were reported to have seized control of the city
of Paveh after a two-day battle with Islamic revolutionary guards.
* 18 August:
Government forces recaptured the town of Paveh from Kurdish
* 19 August:
The Ayatollah Khomeini declared himself to be commander-in-chief
of the armed forces and ordered troops to Kurdistan to crush the
revolt. He banned all Kurdish political organisations including the
Kurdish Democratic Party which he held responsible for the attack on
* 2 September:
According to an armed forces communiqué, Government troops began
the battle for Mahabad, the principal town in the area occupied by
Kurdish rebels. The Government officially warned Iraq against
supporting the Kurds. Mr Mehdi Bazargan, in a passionate speech on
television, appealed to Ayatollah Khomeini to come to Tehran and take
responsibility upon himself; for his part he was ready and anxious to
resign. Khomeini said that the US diplomats held as hostages would be
put on trial for espionage unless the US sent the Shah back to Iran.
* 3 September:
After seven hours of sustained air bombardment Government forces
entered the Kurdish town of Mahabad. Kurdish leaders said that over 600
people had been killed in three weeks of fighting.
* 6 September:
Government troops captured Sardasht, 60 miles from the Iraqi
frontier, described as the Kurdish rebels' last stronghold. Operations
against the Kurdish rebels continued. The well known Ayatollah
Khalqali, the régime's travelling judge, arrived in Mahabad to order
and carry out summary executkms.
* 10 October:
Kurdish rebels killed at least 13 Government troops, according to
official sources in the Gendarmerie; they also revealed that in a
previous attack on Sardasht over 60 Revolutionary Guards had been
* 18 October:
Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the suspension of t~eeutious until
further notice; over 600 people had been executed since the Revolution.
* 21 October:
The new Oil Minister, Mr Au Akbar Moinfar, said that the export
of crude oil would be reduced in order to increase the output of
refined oil byproducts. He did not give a figure or a date for the
* 22 October:
After a brief truce fighting between Kurds and Government forces
began again in Mahabad.
* 24 October:
Government troops ceased hostilities against Kurdish insurgents
in Mahabad and lifted the blockade of the town.
* 25 October:
Ayatollah Khomeini said to a crowd in Qom that he prayed to God
that the Shah really had cancer. Earlier a newspaper supporting the
Ayatollah suggested that the illness was a pretext for allowing the
Shah to go to the United States in pursuit of a political game.
* 28 October
: Kurdish troops and Islamic Revolutionary Guards fought an
action in the town of Bukan. In Mahabad the Kurds controlled all
Government buildings and set up a Revolutionary Court to try supporters
of Ayatollah Khomeini.
* 2 November:
A Government mission arrived in Mahabad, the principal town in
Kurdistan. The leader, Mr Hashem Sabagh an, Minister of the Interior,
announced willingness to negotiate some form of autonomy for the Kurds
with the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, Mr Abdurrahman
* 4 November:
Students estimated to number between 4.00 and 450 stormed the US
Embassy in Tehran and seized about 100 members of the staff as
hostages. They demanded the return to Iran of the ex-Shah, currently
under treatment for cancer in a New York hospital. A spokesman for
Ayatollah Khomeini said that he approved of the students' action.
November: The Government denounced the 1959 treaty of friendship
with the US and two articles of the 1921 treaty with the Soviet Union.
Students and Revolutionary Guards entered and occupied the British
Embassy in Tehran for six hours, demanding the extradition from Britain
of ex-Prime Minister Bakhtiar. The authorities finally persuaded the
students to leave after explaining that Mr Bakhtiar was resident in
France. The British Government protested strongly to the Iranian
Embassy in London.
* 6 November:
The Prime Minister, Dr Mebdi Bazargan, resigned office saying
that he could not govern because of interference from others. Accepting
the resignation Ayatollah Khomeini indicated that the responsibility
for government now lay with the Islamic Revolutionary Council.
* 12 November:
The offical news agency reported that attacks had been launched
by Kurdish insurgents against the towns of Sanandaj, Javanrud, Nousud
* 18 November:
In a statement to The Times the Ayatollah Khomeini said that the
US diplomats held as hostageswould be put on trial for espionage unless
the US sent the Shah back to Iran.
* 19 November:
Three of the hostages in the US Embassy, a young woman and two
black Marines, were released and flown to Copenhagen. A further ten,
four women and six black Marines, were put on show before reporters
with the promise that they would be the next to be released.
* 20 November:
Ten more hostages were released and flown to West Germany.
Ayatollah Khomeini declared that the remaining 49 would be tried as
* 26 November:
Ayatollah Khomeini called on the Revolutionary Guards to raise an
army of 20 million to confront the US if it should invade Iran.In a
radio broadcast addressed to the Revolutionary Guards Ayatollah
Khomeini proclaimed a Holy War to be waged on the religious, financial
and military fronts.
* 28 November:
The Revolutionary Council nominated Mr Sadegh Ghodbzadeh as
Acting Foreign Minister in replacement of Mr Aboihassan Bani Sadr, Mr
Ghodbzadeh remained as head of the television and radio service and Mr
Bani Sadr as Minister for Finance and for the Economy.
* 29 November:
The students occupying the US Embassy in Tehran said that they
would put the hostages on trial for espionage sooner than planned if
the Shah left the US for any destination other than Iran.
* 1 December:
In Iranshahr in the province of Baluchistan a crowd stormed the
Governor's palace and held him as hostage. Ballot boxes and voting
papers for the referendum were burned.
* 2 December:
Voting took place in a referendum to accept the new constitution
giving Ayatollah Khomeini the status of a supreme autocrat. As polling
appeared light the stations were kept open all night instead of
* closing at 6 pm. In the minority areas inhabited by Kurds,
Azarbaijanis, Arabs, Turkoman and Baluchis there was an almost total
boycott and violence broke out in the northern city of Tabriz.
* 3 December:
The Kurdish Democratic Party released the text of a document
which they had handed to the government negotiator Mr Daryush Forahar
with the details of their claims to autonomy. These included an
enlarged Kurdish province, a freely-elected Kurdish Assembly and a
guarantee of autonomy to be written into the new Iranian constitution.
The Foreign Minister, Mr Sadegh Ghodbzadeh, warned Iraq that the
country was coming to the end of its patience and described Iraqi
actions as reminiscent of American imperialism.
* 4 December:
The Foreign Minister, in an interview released by the official
news agency, said that the US diplomats being held hostage would
definitely be tried on espionage charges and judged by their student
December: Crowds attacked the home of Ayatollah Kazem
Shariat-Madari in Qom for expressing reservations about the new
constitution; a Revolutionary Guard was killed. The opposition of Mr
Shariat-Madari, a clerical leader of the Azarbaijanis, had produced
abstentions in the referendum in Azarbaijan and unrest in Tabriz. The
state oil concern NIOC invited its clients to Tehran to renew oil
delivery contracts for 1980 and regularise their oil business. Those
invited included 13 Japanese oil companies and the two British, Shell
and BP, but no American companies.
* 6 December:
Opponents of Ayatollah Khomeini took over the radio and
television station of the province of east Azarbaijan and said they
would no longer accept the authority of govermnent officials appointed
by Tehran. Radio Tabriz announced that the successor to the Governor
would be appointed by Ayatollah Shariat-Madari; it also called for the
withdrawal from the province of all non-Azarbaijani Revolutionary
* 7 December:
Mr Rahmatollah Moghadam was appointed Governor of the province of
east Azarbaijan by the Islamic Revolutionary Council. A native of
Tabriz himself, he was one of the leaders of the Radical Party, a small
* 9 December:
Fighting continued in Tabriz for the control of the radio and
television studios which had been recaptured by pro-Khomeini forces
from the Azarbaijani insurgents. Five people were reported killed and
* 10 December:
Ayatollah Kazem Shariat-Madari issued a statement accusing
Ayatollah Khomeini of triggering the fighting in Azarbaijan and of
moving towards a dictatorship. In a leaflet he said that he would not
attempt to restrain his supporters who were contesting the control of
Tabriz with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. A three-man delegation
from the IslamicRevolutionary Council headed by the Minister ofFinance,
Mr Bani Sadr, was sent to Tabriz tocompose differences between the
followers of theAyatollahs Khomeini and Shariat-Madari.
* 11 December:
Mr Sadegh Ghodbzadeh, the Foreign Minister, said that it was the
government's intention to set up what he called an international grand
jury to expose American crimes against Iran since 1953.
* 16 December:
Ayatollah Shariat-Madari condemned the new constitution because
it gave dictatorial powers to Ayatollah Khomeini.
* 18 December:
Ayatollah Muhammad Mofateh, one of Ayatollah Khomeini's closest
advisers, was assassinated by three men who attacked him with machine
pistols outside the theological college in central Tehran where he was
director. The organisation suspected was FORGHAN which describes itself
as a Moslem fundamentalist body; its numerous victims to date had
included another Ayatollah, Morteza Mutazaheri.
* 20 December:
Tehran Radio reported that two people had been killed and 36
injured in riots at Zahedan, the capital of Iranian Baluchistan. The
disturbances were said to have been provoked by a speech from Dr
Ibrahim Yazdi, sent as a special envoy of Ayatollah Khomeini to pacify
the Baluchis who were joining the Kurds, Arabs and Azarbaijanis in
* 21 December:
Five more people were killed in street fIghting in Zahedan
between Baluches and Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Later it was
announced that a truce had been agreed between the Baluchi leader,
Sheikh Movlavi Abdulaziz, and Mr Ibrahim Yazdi, the former foreign
Minister. In Kurdistan the Kurdish spiritual leader, Sheikh Ezzedin
Husseini, said that the Kurdish delegation to the talks on autonomy had
unanimously rejected the Central government's proposals.
* 23 December:
The Central Bank authorities were reported to have decided to
transfer about half its British assets, estimated at £2,000 million,
to banks in France, Algeria and Libya. The assets being moved would
include about £250 million deposited with London branches of Japanese
* 28 December:
After a meeting of the revolutionary Council a strongly-worded
note was sent to the Soviet Union protesting against its intervention
in Afghanistan which was called an act of aggression against all Moslem
-- end --
- Prev by Date: Tennessee Muslims debunk myths about their faith
- Next by Date: A Beautiful Book on Iranian Visual Arts (1400-1600 AD)
- Previous by thread: 31 embrace Islam in Niger
- Next by thread: A Beautiful Book on Iranian Visual Arts (1400-1600 AD)