Timeline of the Iranian Revolution

Feb 11 (Reuters) – The 1979 revolution toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a secular monarch allied with the West, and led to the formation of an Islamic Republic headed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shi’ite cleric.

These are key dates of the revolution and the rise of the Islamic Republic.


Jan. 9 – Several thousand people protest in the city of Qom, a center of religious scholarship, and security forces attack, killing at least five people.

Feb. 18 – Protests are held in a number of cities to commemorate the fortieth day after the death of the Qom protesters. A number of protesters are killed in Tabriz.

Jun. 7 – The Shah replaces the head of the SAVAK secret police in an attempt to appease protesters.

Aug. 19 – Hundreds are killed in an arson fire at the Cinema Rex in Abadan in southern Iran. Protesters and officials blame each other, kicking off another round of violence.

Sept. 8 – Martial law is imposed and security forces fire on protesters in Jaleh Square in Tehran, killing at least 100 people, a day which is named “Black Friday.”

Oct. 3 – Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein deports influential senior opposition cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from Najaf and he settles in the Neauphle-le-Chateau suburb of Paris.

Nov. 6 – After days of protests, the Shah broadcasts the message “I heard the voice of your revolution.”

Dec. 10-11 – Timed with a religious holiday, millions of Iranians protest around the country calling for the ousting of the Shah.

Dec. 29 – Shapour Bakhtiar, a long time opposition leader, is appointed prime minister by the Shah.


Jan. 4 – Bakhtiar officially becomes prime minister.

Jan. 12 – Khomeini forms a Revolutionary Council to oversee the Shah’s exit and transition to a new government.

Jan. 16 – The Shah and his wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi, leave Tehran and fly to Aswan, Egypt.

Jan. 22 – The Shah arrives in Morocco with his entourage. He spends three weeks in a palace in Marrakesh before going to the Bahamas.

Feb. 1 – Khomeini returns to Iran and is greeted by millions in Tehran.

Feb. 11 – Iran‘s general staff declares the neutrality of the armed forces and troops are ordered back to their barracks, guaranteeing the Islamic Revolution’s success. Bakhtiar flees Tehran.

Feb. 14 – The U.S. embassy in Tehran is attacked and overrun but the crowds eventually leave the embassy grounds.

Feb. 16 – Iran‘s revolutionary authorities start executions of leading supporters of the Shah and kill four top generals on the rooftop of a school housing Khomeini.

Mar. 5 – Iran resumes oil exports.

Mar. 30 – A referendum is held and approximately 99 percent of voters support the formation of an Islamic Republic.

Aug. 3 – Iranians elect members of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution to write a new constitution for the Islamic Republic.

Oct. 22 – The Shah arrives in the United States for medical treatment of lymphatic cancer, a disease he has secretly battled for several years.

Nov. 4 – Iranian students storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran and take 52 Americans hostage, demanding the extradition of the Shah in return for their release.

Dec. 15 – The Shah leaves the United States and travels to Panama.


Jan. 25 – Abolhasan Bani-Sadr is elected the first president of the Islamic Republic.

Mar. 23 – The Shah leaves Panama and goes to Egypt where he is granted asylum by President Anwar al-Sadat. He receives urgent medical treatment.

Jul 27 – The Shah dies in Cairo from lymphoma, aged 60. Sadat gives him a state funeral and he is buried in the Al-Rifa’i Mosque in Cairo.

[aesop_image img=”https://kayhanlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2007-07-25T120000Z_413524591_GM1DVTZVEJAA_RTRMADP_3_EGYPT.jpg” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”off” caption=”Empress Farah Pahlavi (L), the wife of the Shah of Iran, pays her respects at his tomb at the Al Rifa’i Mosque with Jehan Sadat, on the 27th anniversary of the Shah’s death in Cairo, July 25 2007. Sadat is the widow of Anwar Sadat. REUTERS/Tara Todras-Whitehill (EGYPT)” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

(Writing by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Babak Dehghanpisheh, Editing by William Maclean)