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Iran History

A Century of Struggle for Democracy

1906: Iran Constitutional Revolution: Popular protests nationwide force the Qajar king, Mozzaffar Od-Din Shah, to sign the constitutional decree. Iran’s first parliament is convened.

1908: The Qajar king puts parliament under siege, ordering its bombardment by artillery fire. Leaders of the Constitutional movement are arrested.

1909: Uprisings in Tabriz led by Sattar Khan and Bagher Khan spread to Isfahan, Lar, Shiraz, Hamedan, Mashhad, Astar Abad, Bandar Abbas and Bushehr within four months. Freedom fighters capture the Capital, Tehran. The Parliament reconvenes.

1920: Uprisings lead by Mirza Koochak Khan Jangali in northern Iran, Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani in northwest Iran, Col. Mohammad Taghi Khan Pesyan in northeast Iran against ruling dictatorship.

1952: July 21 nationwide uprising brings Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq to power forcing the Shah to flee Iran. Mossadeq had nationalized Iran’s oil industry a year earlier.

1953: In August, a CIA engineered coup successfully topples Dr. Mossadeq.

1953: In December, three student leaders, Mehdi Shariat Razavi, Ahmad Qandchi, and Mostafa Bozorgnia are murdered during student uprising in Tehran.

1954: Dr. Hossein Fatemi, Foreign Minister during Mossadeq’s tenure, executed on the order of the Shah.

1963: In September, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is formed. Founding members Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badi’zadegan embrace a democratic Islam, rejecting the mullahs’ fundamentalist interpretation of the religion, and Marxist philosophy.

1971: Members of the People’s Fadayeen Organization clash with Security Forces in Siahkal, northern Iran, marking the start of armed struggle against the Shah.

1971: Sweeping raids by SAVAK in August and September results in the arrest of PMOI founding members, Central Committee and ninety percent of cadres.

1972: Massoud Rajavi’s death sentence commuted to life imprisonment in April, after intervention by Francois Mitterrand, Jean Paul Satre and Amnesty International.

1973: Muslim intellectual Dr. Ali Shariati tries to enlighten the masses, particularly students in an effort to create social change. His denunciation of fundamentalist views gained popularity among young college intellectuals.

1973: SAVAK raids eliminate Mojahedin’s Muslim leadership, enabling Marxist elements to infiltrate and carry out a coup within PMOI. The Marxists murder remaining PMOI Muslim leaders outside prisons, declare the movement Marxist, and assassinate U.S. officers and defense contractors.

1974: Massoud Rajavi, while in prison, denounces Marxists’ coup, demands they release their hold on PMOI.

1974: Khosto Golesorkhi and Keramatollah Daneshiyan, two renowned political prisoners, executed.

1975: Several other leading political prisoners, including Bijan Jazani, executed in Evin prison.

1979: Anti-Shah uprising gains steam, forcing the Shah to flee Iran.

1979: Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran. In the absence of democratic leaders, he assumes the leadership of the revolution, calls for the establishment of an Islamic State.

1979: The People’s Mojahedin boycotts vote on Constitution, declares it undemocratic, despotic.

1980: Massoud Rajavi is nominated as candidate for President. Khomeini vetoes Rajavi’s candidacy despite earlier pledge not to intervene in the election.

1980: The People’s Mojahedin takes part in parliamentary election. Despite widespread government rigging and fraud, it receives 17 percent of vote nationally, compared to the ruling Islamic Republic Party’s 26 percent, but the regime prevents PMOI candidates from taking their seats in Parliament.

1980: Khomeini orders compulsory veiling for women, Mojahedin women rally to denounce forced veiling, defend women’s right to choose their own clothing.

1981: PMOI organizes half-a-million strong demonstration in Tehran against dictatorship. Khomeini orders a crackdown. Revolutionary Guards open fire. Dozens are killed, hundreds wounded and thousands arrested and executed within days. The reign of terror begins.

1981: Massoud Rajavi announces the formation of the opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tehran, and flies to Paris to introduce the opposition coalition and expose Iran’s rights record.

1985: 5,000 parliamentarians, government figures and dignitaries voice support for NCRI’s peace plan to end the Iran-Iraq war.

1986: Rajavi leaves Paris to Iran-Iraq frontier after French strike deal with Tehran to get their hostages released in Beirut.

1987: National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA) is formed.

1988: NLA liberates Iranian city of Mehran, takes 1,500 prisoners, $2 billion worth of war booty.

1988: Khomeini “drinks the chalice of poison” of ceasefire with Iraq.

1988: Khomeini issues fatwa to massacre 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.

1988: NLA launches “Ethernal Light” Operation, thrusts 170 km to the gates of Kermanshah, largest city in western Iran.

1993: NCRI votes to elect Maryam Rajavi as President for transitional period after the fall of the mullahs. She flies to Paris to begin a new political, diplomatic initiative.

1996: Maryam Rajavi addresses 25,000 Iranians at Earl’s Court in London, calls for an international front against fundamentalism.

1997: Mohammad Khatami becomes president in Iran. U.S. State Department designates the PMOI as terrorist as a goodwill gesture to Khatami.

1998: A majority in the U.S. House of Representatives denounces blacklisting of PMOI, calls on the State Department to revoke the designation.

1999: Nationwide uprising in July by thousands of students and young people in Tehran and other cities. Dozens are killed or wounded, and thousands arrested by Security Forces.

2002: NCRI reveals secret nuclear weapons sites in Natanz and Arak, central Iran.

2003: U.S., British planes bomb PMOI bases in Iraq as part of a quid pro quo with Tehran.

2003: U.S. signs ceasefire, cooperation agreement with PMOI. U.S. 4th Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno calls for review of PMOI status by the State Department.

2004: U.S. acknowledges that a 16 months investigation of all PMOI personnel found no basis to charge any of its members with the violation of U.S. laws or links to terrorism, and recognizes their status as “protected persons under fourth Geneva Convention.”

2004: Maryam Rajavi addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, rejects appeasement of Tehran, foreign military intervention, and calls for third option to bring about regime change by Iranian people and their organized resistance.

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