Created by: Sophie Brichta, Maya Rosenthal, and Alex Ahearn

"Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed." - Ayatollah Khomeini
(you need to put this quote into some type of historical context)
Iranian anthem
This inclusion of the Iranian anthem needs some context in order for the reader to be able to interact with it. When was it written? What do the lyrics mean? HOw does it fit into an understanding of Iran and its role in the modern Middle east?

Map of Iran throughout the dynasties:


A more modern map of Iran:


What is the significance of these maps? When were the borders of modern Iran drawn and by whom?

Iranian Timeline:
  • Constitutional Revolution-1906-1909
Iranian rebels during the Constitutional Revolution
Iranian rebels during the Constitutional Revolution

  • The installation of the second Shah Pahlavi as the absolute ruler of Iran- 1952
  • The Iranian Revolution- 1979
Protesters protesting during the Iranian Revolution
Protesters protesting during the Iranian Revolution

  • The approval of a theocratic constitution making the Ayatollah the supreme ruler of Iran- 1979
Iranian Constitution
The modern Iranian Constitution (above) is the theocratic constitution approved by the people after the Iranian revolution of 1979: it makes the Ayatollah, the spiritual leader, the supreme leader of Iran and grants people basic rights such as equality, freedom of religion, womens rights, and freedom of the press as long as its not "detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public."
  • The hostage-taking of U.S. embassy officials (U.S. hostage crisis)- 1979-1981
Some of the hostages taken during the hostage crisis
Some of the hostages taken during the hostage crisis

  • The Iran-Iraq War- 1980-1988
A troop of Iranian soldiers about to fight against Iraqi soldiers
A troop of Iranian soldiers about to fight against Iraqi soldiers

  • Iran begins nuclear program under heavy supervision of the IAEA- 2003
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other scientists at a nuclear facility
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other scientists at a nuclear facility

Article on an Iran Nuclear Plant

this article is from 2003! There are much more timely and relevant articles about nuclear development in Iran -- which continues to be a major issue in the global community!
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becomes president- 2005
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president of Iran
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president of Iran

  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rigs elections and remains president- 2009
  • Protests against the reign of Ahmadinejad take place in Tehran- 2009
Protesters protesting against Ahmadinejad's re-election
Protesters protesting against Ahmadinejad's re-election

Article on the voices of Iran

this article needs some context and summary to invite the reader into it. For example, it would be helpful to explain what the Green Revolution in Iran is...since it is discussed in the article!


20th Century Issues:

(you need to give some context to what was the state of affairs in Iran in 1906-- what form of govt did they have? Who led this revolution? What imperialist nations did they fear and why?
In 1906, upset at a corrupt government and afraid of being taken over by an imperialist nation, Iranian rebels rebelled against the government in a revolution known as the Constitutional Revolution. As a result of the revolution, a constitution was written giving Iranians basic rights and limiting the Shah’s powers and setting up a parliament. National Consultative Assembly?
In 1907, however, when Shah Mohammed Ali took power, he discarded the constitution and tried to abolish the parliament, with Russian support. In 1908, the rebels overthrew Mohammed Ali, re-established the constitution, and exiled him to Russia.
Meanwhile, in 1907, Britain and Russia, in the Anglo-Russian agreement, separated Iran into two spheres of influence: Russia had control of the northern sphere, Britain had control of the southern and eastern spheres, and both nations could economically compete with each other in a central sphere. In 1925, a coup, led by Reza Khan, abolished the Qajar dynasty of Shahs once and for all. After the coup, Reza Khan became the new Shah, and he assumed the name Shah Pahlavi. Under Pahlavi’s rule, Iran modernized and industrialized. Large-scale industries emerged, Iran improved its infrastructure by getting railroads, a national public education system was initiated, there were many judiciary reforms, and a health care system was put in place. As a result of modernization, two new social classes emerged: a professional middle class, and an industrial working class.

An Iranian Railroad
An Iranian Railroad

Although Shah Pahlavi did a lot of good for Iran, his dictatorial rule was highly unpopular and he was hated by the people. In 1941, after trying to remain neutral in the second world war, and refusing to expel German nationalists, Iran was invaded by Britain and the USSR. Britain and the USSR also invaded because the newly built trans-Iranian railroad made an easy route to the strategically located Persian Gulf. After the invasion, Shah Pahlavi was exiled and his son, who also assumed the name Shah Pahlavi, was permitted to take his place. At the end of the war, Britain and Russia agreed to withdraw their troops and recognize Iran as an independent nation.
Under the reign of the second Shah Pahlavi, many political parties emerged and the first serious election for a prime minister took place. Also, Iranians demanded nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which was owned by Britain, and oil became a staple of the Iranian economy.

You are describing events that happened in the 20th century but you are not providing analysis that explains clearly what the 20th C. issues are specifically.

Iranian oil workers

In 1951, a powerful and influential prime minister named Mohammad Mosaddeq came into power. Mosaddeq was unpopular with Britain because of the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and he was also unpopular with the U.S. because of feared ties with the USSR. Because of this mistrust, the CIA formed a coup against Mosaddeq and overthrew him in 1952, leaving the second Shah Pahlavi with absolute power. The Shah allied himself with the western part of the world. He also crushed all political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK. The Shah also began the White Revolution, which included land reform, extension of voting rights to women, and the elimination of illiteracy. You need to elaborate on this...

Pahlavi announcing the policies of the White Revolution

Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini (you need to explain who Khomeini is!) objected to the Shah’s reforms and to the Shah’s alliance with the West because he viewed these changes as un-Islamic. He continually denounced the Shah, the U.S., and other western nations. After heavy persuasion from the U.S., the Shah eventually ordered the Ayatollah into exile. Displeased with the dictatorial Shah, the Iranians overthrew him in the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and, after an approval of a theocratic constitution, declared the Ayatollah the supreme ruler of the nation. Because of the U.S.’s support of the Shah, U.S.-Iranian relations quickly deteriorated following the revolution. Iran disliked the U.S. so much, Iranian revolutionaries raided the U.S. embassy and held many of its officials hostage for 444 days. Not accurate, in fact the taking of the hostages was grounded in the fact that the government controlled by Khomeini was insisting that the US return the Shah (who was reeiving medicial treatment in the US) to Iran. The US did not comply because they were gravely concerned for the Shah's safetyThis event became known as the hostage-crisis, which laid the foundation of U.S.-Iranian relations today. Meanwhile, Iraq saw an opportunity to invade Iran right after the revolution, in order to extend its power and territory. After eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, Iranian soldiers drove out Iraqi soldiers and Iran won. What is the significance of the Iran/ Iraq war? A year later, in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini died, and President Khamenei assumed power as the Ayatollah.

(what is the purpose of this graphic?)

21st Century Issues:

Shia Iran hasn’t supported the terrorist group Al-Qaeda since it first emerged, but the Iranian government supports terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank, and other groups in Egypt and Algeria. Iran is a major exporter of oil, holding 9% of the world’s oil reserves.

An oil drill in Iran

In 2003, Iran decided to renew its nuclear program after it had been abolished in 1979. Iran claimed that it wanted the nuclear program to provide cleaner power to its capital, Tehran, under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Yet, while Iran was creating its nuclear power, the UN learned that there were secret nuclear projects conducted by the Iranian government that were concealed from the IAEA and the world. Many sanctions were imposed on Iran for this, but that still hasn’t stopped the country’s nuclear development. As of today, Iran is believed to be very close to completing a nuclear weapon, and it is anticipated that Israel may attack Iran in order to stop the building of the weapon.
In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president. Despite his western-style dress and mannerisms, Ahmadinejad quickly re-imposed many of the conservative Islamic rules of the past. He began to heavily persecute minorities and enforce strict dress codes. He refused to stop enriching uranium, and focused hatred on the U.S. and Israel. In the presidential elections of 2009, Ahmadinejad was declared victorious with the most votes, but there was widespread suspicion that the election was rigged. There was so much suspicion, in fact, that protesters took to the streets to protest Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

(You have some good information here, but you organization gets in the way of it having its fullest impact. You need to provide more analysis.

Key Personnel:

The first ruler of the Pahlavi dynasty of Shahs, Reza Khan, or Shah Pahlavi
The first ruler of the Pahlavi dynasty of Shahs, Reza Khan, or Shah Pahlavi

Reza Khan

Reza Khan was an Iranian officer who seized control of the government in 1921. In 1925, he declared himself Shah and started the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Khan tried to make a strong central government and extend government rule over the country. He built up the army and made policies of modernization and secularization such as the banning of wearing veils by women, raising the minimum age for marriage, and made more secular schools for both boys and girls. He also completed the trans-Iranian railroad and made some state-owned factories that produced goods such as textiles, matches, canned goods, sugar, and cigarettes. Reza Khan also lost favor among religious leaders because his rule diminished a lot of their power and he ended up killing or exiling anyone who opposed the government. During World War II, Reza Khan was allied with Germany, and the Allies viewed this as a threat to the Soviet Union. He was forced to abdicate in 1941 after Iran was occupied by the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The second and final ruler of the Pahlavi dynasty of Shahs, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, also known as Shah Pahlavi
The second and final ruler of the Pahlavi dynasty of Shahs, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, also known as Shah Pahlavi

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, after becoming shah in 1941, tried to continue the reform policies his father had started, but was soon challenged by an older, nationalistic politician Mohammad Mosaddeq. Although Mohammad Reza promised to be a constitutional monarch who would give most of the power to the parliamentary government, he still involved himself in the government’s problems and often opposed strong prime ministers. In 1963 he started the program called the White Revolution which included land reform, voting rights for women, and the end of illiteracy. In 1967 he crowned himself and his wife Emperor and Empress. This was frowned upon by religious leaders who didn’t want to lose their power and students and intellectuals who wanted democratic reform. He was overthrown in 1979 during the Iranian revolution. (formatting needs attention)

The prime minister of Iran (1951-1952), Mosaddeq
The prime minister of Iran (1951-1952), Mosaddeq

Mohammad Mosaddeq

Mohammad Mosaddeq became prime minister of Iran in 1951. Mohammad was very eccentric and was very popular because of his stands for the common people. He was an honest, just, and concerned politician. He fought for Iran’s political and economic independence from foreigners. He also wanted to address the unfair agreement with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which gained him a lot of support. Mosaddeq believed that nationalizing the oil industry would help Iran become a democratic nation, and he eventually achieved this. In 1952, the economic and security conditions were worsening, and when Mosaddeq asked Mohammad Reza Shah for control of the armed forces he refused, so Mosaddeq resigned from his post as prime minister. (how did nationalization impact the economy? 1953 Brittish Boycott, etc.)

The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini
The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. In 1962, he spoke out against the shah’s (Mohammad Reza’s) reforms and was exiled from Iran in 1964. He went to Iraq and continued to call for the overthrow of the shah. His popularity grew in the 1970s as the Iranian people grew more and more dissatisfied with the shah. In 1978 he was exiled from Iraq, so he went to Paris, and from there he relayed tape-recorded messages to the Iranian people, who eventually overthrew Mohammad Reza. Khomeini returned to Iran and was named religious leader of Iran. Later, a new constitution was made making Iran an Islamic Republic, with Khomeini as the political and religious leader of Iran for life. His goal was to make Iran into an Islamic state. He executed everyone who had worked for the shah and anyone else who opposed him. He then banned all Western influence and required Iranian women to wear the veil. (Anti-Americanism during this time)

Your discussion of key personnel is not complete without the inclusion of Ahmadinejad!!!


Although Iran was neutral during World War I, several battles took place there between Russia and Britain over the oil fields. The British left in 1923 when Reza Khan became prime minister, and later shah. Under his rule, Iran saw a lot of modernization and westernization. Iran refused to align itself with Germany, Turkey, Britain, or the Soviet Union during World War II. Britain and the Soviet Union forced the shah to abdicate.Why? He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1962, Shah Pahlavi started a land reform program called the White Revolution, which transferred two million acres of land from large estates to peasant farmers. Iran’s economy grew in the 1960’s and 70’s from the oil industry, but Reza Shah was despised by the Shiite clergy. Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers finally forced Reza Shah to leave during the Islamic Revolution in 1978-1979. Khomeini proclaimed Iran an Islamic republic and became supreme religious ruler of Iran. In 1979, militant Iranians took 66 Americans hostage from the U.S. embassy in Tehran as revenge to the United States for welcoming Reza Shah to the country for medical treatment. The hostages were released in 1981. The Iraq-Iran War from 1980 to 1988 crippled the economy of Iran. In 1995, the U.S. cut off all trade interests with Iran because of Tehran’s supposed program to build weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, under heavy supervision of the International Atomic Energy Association, Iran began a nuclear program, claiming that the energy would be used to provide power to Tehran, but, despite this claim, Iran was found to be heavily enriching uranium in secret nuclear projects, and in years following, they received many sanctions from the IAEA. In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president, and was re-elected as president in 2009, after rigging the elections. What has happened since 2009? What impact has the Arab Spring had on Iran?

An Iranian artwork
An Iranian artwork
An Iranian tile
An Iranian tile
An Iranian painting

images need some sort of context and explanation!

The images on your timeline are very interesting and provide good visual reference for the events you describe. The links to articles are on the weak side, as is
your video...which is really more audio that video, since it just shows a flag waving while the anthem plays.

Specific details to support your more general descriptions are needed. More clear analysis of facts presented in order to draw out the significance of Iran in relation to the world at large, the US and the Middle East is needed! Your discussion stops in 2009, but it is 2012. Three years is a long time to neglect particularly in a region that is so rapidly changing.