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Seda: Voices of Iran


January 16
The shah flees Iran amid intensifying unrest.


February 1
Islamic nationalist Ayatollah Khomeini returns from France, where he was exiled for his opposition to the shah's regime. He encourages the brewing revolution.

April 1
Under Ayatollah Khomeini's guidance, Iran declares itself a theocratic republic guided by Islamic principles, and a referendum is held to name it the Islamic Republic of Iran.


November 4
Islamic students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking hostage 52 American employees and demand that the shah return from receiving medical treatment in the United States to face trial in Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini applauds their actions. The hostage situation ignites a crisis between the United States and Iran.



Iran and the United States sever diplomatic ties over the hostage crisis, and the U.S. Embassy becomes a training ground for the Revolutionary Guards Corps.


The shah dies in exile in Egypt.


Iraq invades Iran after years of disagreements over territory, most notably the Shatt al Arab waterway. When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announces his intention to reclaim the Shatt al Arab, an eight-year war breaks out.



Following negotiations mediated by Algeria, the U.S. hostages are released after 444 days of captivity.

The United States covertly seeks to sell arms to Iran in exchange for the release of seven American hostages being held by Iranian-backed militants in Lebanon, prompting the Iran-Contra scandal.


An American navy ship, the USS Vincennes, shoots down an Iranian civilian plane, killing all 290 passengers and the crew. The United States later apologizes and agrees to financial compensation for the victims families, saying the civilian plane was mistaken for an attacking military jet.

Iran accepts United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, leading to a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq War.


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