Persian Government Timeline

Persian Government Timeline

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Leaders of Iran Throughout History

Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent Iranian president. Editorial credit: saeediex /

An Islamic Theocracy is the form of government currently in place in Iran. This kind of government is one in which religious figures retain the rights of leadership, even superseding the power of elected Presidents. This form of government came into effect shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran and was lead by Ayatollah Khomeini until his death in 1989. The Supreme Leader of Iran is now Ayatollah Khamenei, who was a former friend and confidant of Khomeini. The seat of the government in Iran is in Tehran.

Key Events in the 1953 Coup

• Support grows for the nationalization of Iran&aposs oil industry.

• Nationalist Mohammed Mossadegh becomes prime minister and angers the British by wresting control of the oil industry.

July 22, 1952
• Under pressure, the Shah is forced to reappoint Mossadegh.

March 1953
• The C.I.A. begins drafting a plan to bring to power, through covert action, a government in Iran that would be preferred by the United States.

April 16, 1953
• A C.I.A. study entitled "Factors Involved in the Overthrow of Mossadegh" is completed. The study concludes that a coup in Iran is possible.

May 13, 1953
• C.I.A. and British intelligence officers meet in Nicosia, Cyprus, to draft plans for the coup. Meanwhile, the C.I.A.&aposs Tehran station is granted approval to launch a "grey propaganda" campaign to discredit the Mossadegh government.

June 10, 1953
• C.I.A. officers meet in Beirut for a final review of the coup plan.

June 19, 1953
• The final operation plan for the coup, agreed upon by both the C.I.A. and British intelligence, is submitted to the U.S. State Department and the Foreign Office in London.

July 1, 1953
• Britain&aposs prime minister gives final approval to the operational plan for the coup.

July 11, 1953
• President Eisenhower gives final approval to the operational plan for the coup.

July 23, 1953
• A British Foreign Office memorandum is presented to an Under Secretary of State, reassuring the U.S. that the British would be flexible on the issue of controlling oil in Iran.

July 25, 1953
• Under pressure from the C.I.A., Princess Ashraf, the Shah&aposs sister, flies to Tehran from France in order to convince the Shah to sign the royal decrees that would dismiss Mossadegh.

". should the Shah fail to go along with the U.S. representative or fail to produce the [legal] documents for General Zahedi, Zahedi would be informed that the United States would be ready to go ahead without the Shah&aposs active cooperation. " — C.I.A. Document, Appendix B, page 10

July 29, 1953
• The C.I.A. intensifies a propaganda effort, which included planting stories in major American newspapers, to weaken the Mossadegh government.

Aug. 1, 1953
• In a meeting with Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf, the Shah refuses to sign the C.I.A.-written royal decrees firing Mossadegh and naming Gen. Zahedi as the new prime minister of Iran.

Aug. 4, 1953
• Mossadegh, suspecting that British and American governments were plotting against him, holds a referendum calling for the Iranian parliament to be dissolved.

Aug. 13, 1953
• The shah signs a royal decrees dismissing Mossadegh. Word of the shah&aposs support for the coup spreads quickly in Iran.

Aug. 15, 1953
• The coup begins, but falters and then fails because Mossadegh received advanced warning of the plans. Zahedi goes into hiding.

Aug. 16, 1953
• The shah flees to Baghdad.

Aug. 17, 1953
• Gen. Zahedi announces that he is the prime minister. To support this claim, C.I.A. agents disseminate a large quantity of photographs of the royal decrees dismissing Mossadegh and appointing Zahedi. The shah announces that he indeed signed the decrees.

Aug. 18, 1953
• The C.I.A., discouraged by the failed coup, sends a message to Tehran ordering the operations against Mossadegh to be halted.

Aug. 19, 1953
• Several Tehran newspapers publish the Shah&aposs decrees. As a result, supporters of the Shah begin gathering in the streets, and another coup begins. Gen. Zahedi comes out of hiding to lead the movement. By the end of the day, the country is in the hands of Zahedi and members of the Mossadegh government are either in hiding or incarerated.
SLIDE SHOW: Demonstrations Erupt During Coup

U.S. Relations With Iran

U.S. and British intelligence agencies help elements in the Iranian military overthrow Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. This follows Mossadeq’s nationalization of the Britain-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which led London to impose an oil embargo on Iran. The coup brings back to power the Western-friendly monarchy, headed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Deeply unpopular among much of the population, the shah relies on U.S. support to remain in power until his overthrow in 1979.

Under U.S. and UK pressure, the shah signs the Consortium Agreement of 1954, which gives U.S., British, and French oil companies 40 percent ownership of the nationalized oil industry for twenty-five years.

The United States and Iran sign the Cooperation Concerning Civil Uses of Atoms agreement as part of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, under which developing countries receive nuclear education and technology from the United States. It lays the foundation for the country’s nuclear program, and the United States later provides Iran with a reactor and weapons-grade enriched uranium fuel. Their collaboration continues until the start of Iran’s 1979 revolution.

Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela establish the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to rival the mostly Western companies dominating global oil supplies and to reestablish control over their domestic oil reserves. By the 1970s, OPEC profits skyrocket and the group gains considerable leverage over Western economies. Iran’s increased market clout makes it an even more crucial U.S. ally.

President Richard Nixon travels to Iran to ask the shah for help protecting U.S. security interests in the Middle East, including by opposing a Soviet-allied Iraq. In return, Nixon promises that Iran can buy any nonnuclear weapons system it wants. Oil prices skyrocket amid the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent Arab oil embargo against the United States, allowing the shah to purchase a larger supply of high-tech weaponry than anticipated, which unsettles U.S. officials.

The shah flees amid widespread civil unrest and eventually travels to the United States for cancer treatment. Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shiite cleric who opposed the shah’s Westernization of Iran, returns to the country after fourteen years in exile. Khomeini takes power as the supreme leader in December, turning Iran from a pro-West monarchy to a vehemently anti-West Islamic theocracy. Khomeini says Iran will try to “export” its revolution to its neighbors. In 1985, the militant group Hezbollah emerges in Lebanon and pledges allegiance to Khomeini.

A group of radical Iranian college students takes fifty-two Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, demanding that the United States extradite the shah. Washington severs ties with Tehran, sanctions Iranian oil imports, and freezes Iranian assets. After 444 days, the hostages are released under the Algiers Accords [PDF], which were signed just minutes after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, whose 1980 presidential campaign emphasized President Jimmy Carter’s failure to free the hostages. As part of the accords, the United States promises not to intervene in Iranian politics.

Iraq invades its neighbor and growing rival Iran amid fears of a Shiite revolt against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The United States supports secular Iraq with economic aid, training, and dual-use technology until the war ends in 1988, even after the CIA finds evidence that Iraqi forces used chemical weapons against Iranians. An estimated one million Iranians and 250,000–500,000 Iraqis die in the conflict.

Two trucks loaded with explosives drive into barracks housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon, then detonate. The attack kills 241 U.S. military personnel—the highest single-day death toll for the U.S. Armed Forces since the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. A group named Islamic Jihad, widely believed to be a front for Hezbollah, claims responsibility for the attack. The bombing hastens the withdrawal of U.S. marines from Lebanon, and leads the State Department to designate Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984.

Despite an arms embargo, senior Reagan administration officials begin secretly selling weapons to Iran to secure the release of seven Americans held hostage by Hezbollah in Lebanon. The officials use the money from the illegal deal to fund the right-wing Contras rebel groups in Nicaragua after Congress prohibits further funding of the insurgency. Reagan takes responsibility for the scandal in a 1987 televised address, and the affair ends in some officials’ convictions. Hezbollah kills two of the hostages and releases the others over several years.

After an Iranian mine nearly sinks an American frigate in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy launches a retaliatory campaign called Operation Praying Mantis. American forces destroy two Iranian oil platforms and sink a frigate. In July, the U.S. Navy shoots down an Iranian passenger jet after mistaking it for a fighter jet, killing all 290 people on board.

The United States leads a coalition of thirty-five countries to expel Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait, ousting the Iraqis in a matter of months. The war leads to intrusive UN inspections to prevent Iraq from restarting its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Comprehensive sanctions and widespread corruption under the Oil-for-Food Program, created in the wake of the war, devastate the Iraqi public for nearly a decade, but fail to dislodge Saddam. Iran declares its neutrality in the conflict, but U.S. officials suspect it seeks to replace Iraq as the dominant power in the region.

The United States ramps up sanctions against Iran under the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. In 1992, Congress passes the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act, which sanctions materials that could be used to develop advanced weaponry. The White House expands sanctions with a complete oil and trade embargo in 1995. The 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act imposes an embargo against non-American companies investing more than $20 million per year in Iran’s oil and gas sectors.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meets with Iran’s deputy foreign minister at the Six-Plus-Two talks during the 1998 UN General Assembly. It is the highest-level U.S.-Iran contact since 1979. In April 2000, Albright acknowledges the United States’ role in overthrowing Mossadeq and calls previous policy toward Iran “regrettably shortsighted,” although the United States does not explicitly apologize for the intervention. Some sanctions against Iran are lifted.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush’s administration establishes a back channel with Iran to help coordinate the defeat of the Taliban, a shared enemy that had provided safe haven to members of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the United States and Iran collaborate on the Bonn Agreement [PDF] regarding state-building and the repatriation of Afghan refugees.

During his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes Iran as part of an “axis of evil,” along with Iraq and North Korea. He says Iran “aggressively pursues [weapons of mass destruction] and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.” In response, the Iranian government stops secret meetings with U.S. diplomats that are focused on capturing al-Qaeda operatives and combating the Taliban.

U.S. forces invade Iraq, aiming to end the threat posed by what Washington says are Saddam Hussein’s revived WMD programs. Iran backs local Shiite militias in Iraq, some of which participate in attacks on U.S. forces. Saddam’s dictatorship is toppled and he is executed in December. A 2019 U.S. Army study on the Iraq War concludes that “an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor” in the conflict.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends President George W. Bush an eighteen-page letter—the first letter from an Iranian leader to a U.S. one since 1979. Ahmadinejad seeks to ease U.S.-Iran nuclear tensions, but Iran takes no steps to slow its uranium enrichment program, which it says is for civilian energy production. Separately, the U.S. Congress approves the Iran Freedom Support Act in September to fund Iranian civil society and promote democracy.

During a speech at the opening session of the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad calls the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program “closed” and says his government will disregard Security Council resolutions calling on the country to halt uranium enrichment. At a press conference afterward, he calls the Israeli government an “illegal Zionist regime.” A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate [PDF] released in November finds that Iran ended its nuclear arms program in 2003 but continued to enrich uranium.

President Barack Obama calls newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, the most direct contact since 1979. Two months later, Iran and the P5+1—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany—sign an initial nuclear agreement [PDF], providing Iran with some sanctions relief. Obama praises the deal for cutting off Iran’s “most likely paths to a bomb,” while Rouhani hails it as a “political victory” for Iran.

Iran, the P5+1, and the European Union reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that is named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In return for sanctions relief, Iran agrees to undertake a series of steps, including dismantling and redesigning its nuclear reactor in Arak, allowing more intrusive verification mechanisms, and limiting uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years. The deal is meant to increase Iran’s “breakout time” for developing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon from a few weeks to at least one year. Many Republican and some Democratic lawmakers oppose the deal, arguing that lifting sanctions will bolster the Iranian government and allow it to destabilize the region.

President Donald Trump announces that the United States will withdraw from the JCPOA and mount a sanctions campaign to place “maximum pressure” on Iran. Many arms control experts and European allies condemn the move, while many Republican lawmakers, Israel, and Saudi Arabia applaud it. Iran responds by boosting uranium enrichment in defiance of the agreement’s terms. The withdrawal marks the beginning of rhetorical and military escalation with Iran under the Trump administration.

Trump designates the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—a branch of the Iranian army—a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). It is the first time the United States designates part of another country’s government as an FTO. A week earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets that he personally requested the move. Rouhani says the action will only increase the IRGC’s popularity at home and abroad.

Iran-U.S. Relations: A Chronology

Corbis / Bettman
• American and British intelligence services overthrow Mossadegh. The coup consolidates power under the shah, ensuring cooperation on oil and discouraging Communist expansion.

• Mohammed Mossadegh, an ultranationalist, is elected prime minister, under the shah. He angers the British by trying to nationalize the oil industry.

Corbis / Bettman - UPI
• The Iranian revolution forces the shah to leave. A month later, he is allowed into the United States for cancer treatment in New York City.

• Turmoil sweeps Iran. Khomeini establishes an opposition movement in Paris.

Corbis/Bettman - UPI
• Khomeini returns to proclaim an Islamic republic. With his support, Iranian students occupy the American Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two Americans are held hostage for 444 days. The United States freezes Iranian assets.

• The United States breaks ties with Iran, bans American exports to the country and expels Iranian diplomats.

• The hostages are released minutes after President Carter&aposs term ends. A United States-Iran claims tribunal is set up in The Hague.

• The American cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shoots down an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 aboard.

Corbis/Bettman - UPI
• A secret American military mission to rescue the hostages is aborted because of bad weather. Eight servicemen die in a helicopter crash. The shah dies in Egypt at age 60.

• Revelations emerge of an American deal to exchange arms for Iranian help in freeing hostages held in Lebanon.

• Ayatollah Khomeini dies and is replaced as the nation&aposs spiritual leader by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The speaker of Iran&aposs Parliament, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is elected president.

• Clinton asks Khatami for help in solving the 1996 bombing of a Saudi building in which 19 American servicemen died and hundreds were wounded.

• The Clinton administration renews an offer for talks "on the basis of equality and mutual respect." Iran rejects the offer two days later.

• The United States agrees to let Boeing provide Iran&aposs national airline with parts to ensure the safety of its 747&aposs.

• The Clinton administration starts a campaign to isolate Iran, accusing it of supporting terrorism, seeking nuclear arms and trying to derail Middle East peace.

• President Clinton signs a law that imposes sanctions on foreign companies investing heavily in "terrorist" Iran or Libya.

• Khatami proposes cultural exchanges as a way to end mistrust, but rules out a government-to-government dialogue.

• Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright invites Iranians to join with the United States in drawing up "a road map leading to normal relations." Iran responds that such a step must be followed up by acts.

• The Clinton administration announces it will let American companies sell food and medical items to three countries off-limits as terrorist — Iran, Libya and Sudan.

• Albright announces the lifting of a ban on American imports of Iranian luxury goods. She acknowledges America&aposs role in the 1953 coup, coming closer to apologizing for it than any American official ever has.

Iran after the outbreak of World War II

Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party, had written about the alleged racial inferiority of non-Europeans, especially Arabs and Indians, in Mein Kampf, published in 1925. Hitler had also been contemptuous of anti-colonial movements, referring to them as a “coalition of cripples” that could never be true partners for the Germans. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, and particularly after the Nazi leadership unleashed World War II by invading Poland in 1939, German soldiers and diplomats, hoping to undermine the strength of the British and French colonial empires, actively sought to influence strategic and economic developments in Iran, India, and the Arab Middle East. Consequently they downplayed racist references to non-Jewish peoples in the Middle East in public discourse. Included in the aims of the 1942 Nazi German summer offensive in the Soviet Union were German occupation of the Caucasus region, and from there invasion of Iraq and Iran in the hopes of severing Great Britain’s transit routes to British India and to the Soviet interior.

Despite Nazi German attitudes on the racial inferiority of the inhabitants of the Middle East, Reza Shah leaned in sympathy towards Germany, since, unlike Great Britain or the Soviet Union, Germany did not have a past record of interfering in internal Iranian affairs or occupying Iranian territory. Reza Shah intended to learn about political management and industrial technology from Germany. He also wanted to decrease trade with the Soviet Union. By 1940–1941, nearly half of all Iranian imports came from Germany 42% of all Iranian exports went there.

The Persian department of Nazi Germany’s propaganda radio service, Radio Zeesen, aired programs drawing on Islamic religious themes, since Nazi race-based antisemitism and nationalism did not resonate with Iranian audiences. Among the themes of German propaganda was the notion that Hitler was the Shiite Messiah, or Twelfth Imam, who had returned to destroy the Jews and communists. Hitler’s struggle was compared to the struggle of the Prophet Mohammed against the Jews, drawing parallels between chapters from the Quran about Prophet Mohammed’s clashes with Jewish tribes in Arabia to Shi’ite Iranian hostilities toward Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Such efforts to engage the Shi’ia population prompted concerns on the part of the newly crowned Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, because he perceived his more secular-oriented regime was being undermined and objected to Hitler being labeled a Messiah.

Iranian Jews ruled by Reza Shah and later his son, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, enjoyed many rights and freedoms that they had not previously experienced, including relative cultural and religious autonomy, increased economic opportunities, and significant political rights. Jews also benefitted from the Pahlavi tilt towards a more secular domestic policy. The Iranian government informed the Germans that it considered Iranian Jews to be fully assimilated Iranians. Many Polish Jews among the 116,000 Polish refugees permitted in 1942 to leave the Soviet interior to which they had fled in 1941 or been deported in 1939–1940 passed safely through Iran on the way to Palestine or Great Britain, where many of the Polish refugees, including the Jews among them, joined British military units. The Iranian government also permitted the leaders of the pro-Axis Iraqi government fleeing after British troops deposed it in late May 1941, including the former Prime Minister Rashid al-Kilani and the Palestinian leader Amin al-Husayni, to escape through Iran to Italy.

Reza Shah declared Iran neutral at the start of World War II. He feared both Soviet and British ambitions in his country and despite the benefits of economic relations with Germany, he considered Germany to be too committed to its program of race-based expansion and ideology. Neither side had Iran’s best interests in mind. In the wake of dramatic German victories against the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, both the British and Soviet governments occupied southern and northern Iran respectively, using Reza Shah’s refusal to expel German nationals as an excuse, but in fact out of concern that a successful German drive into the Caucasus would not stop at the Iranian border and that continued Iranian neutrality would inhibit the transit of supplies from British India to Egypt and British supply routes to the Soviet Union. Allied intentions in Iran were also to protect British-controlled oil fields, to direct military supplies to the Soviet Union using the Trans-Iranian Railroad (the major railway linking Tehran with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea), and to put a stop to German intelligence operations in Iran.

On September 11, 1941, British Envoy Sir Reader S. Bullard met with Iran’s Prime Minister, Mohammad-Ali Furuqi, to demand the immediate removal of Reza Shah in favor of his son, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, who was known to be pro-British. Five days later, on September 16, Reza Shah abdicated and went into exile, leaving his son as Shah. Reza Shah died in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 26, 1944.

In January 1942, Iran, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain signed a Tripartite Treaty of Alliance. In this agreement, the Allies recognized Iranian territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence. They also pledged to protect the Iranian economy from the effects of the war. Most importantly, they promised to withdraw from Iranian territory within six months of the end of the war. By the spring of 1942, Iran had cut off all relations with the Axis Powers and had expelled all of their nationals residing in Iran.

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (left), US president Franklin D. - Central Zionist Archives

On September 9, 1943, Iran declared war on Germany. Shortly after, between November 28 and December 1, 1943, the leaders of the Big Three met in Tehran. US President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Josef Stalin attended, discussing military strategies against Germany and Japan and the post–World War II era. They also signed the “Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Iran,” an agreement providing economic assistance to Iran during and after the war. The Allied governments also stated that they all shared a “desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Iran.” British and US troops withdrew from Iran in January 1946. The Soviets withdrew in May 1946 only after the United Nations applied pressure.

AP World History Timeline (600BCE-600CE)

Founded by Cyrus, began in modern day Iran
4 major dynasties: Achaemenids(major), Seleucids, Parthians, and Sasanids
Qanat-underground irrigation/canals
Royal Road, Satraps and Satrapies used to maintain control on the empire and collect taxes

Roman Republic

Class Structure- Patricians, Plebeians, Slaves
3 major branches of government: Elected Magistrates, Senate, Assemblies
12 Tables of Roman Law
Rome began to expand
Paterfamilias (men ruled the household)

Persian Wars

Persia invaded Greece
Battle of Marathon, Thermopylae
First time the Greeks viewed themselves as Greeks collectively (previously viewed as separate nation-states)

Athenian Golden Age

Athens, a Greek city-state experienced a Golden Age under Pericles
Pericles invested in making Athens stronger(strong navy), and more beautiful
3 famous philosophers of Athens: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle

Warring States Period

Period of disunity in China between the Zhou Dynasty and the Qin Dynasty
Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism developed during this time

Trans-Saharan Trade Route

Established around the 5th century BCE
Salt, Gold, and other raw materials were traded
Camels were used to cross the desert

Peloponnesian War

Athens and its allies vs. Sparta and its allies
Athens lost, losing its empire as well
Sparta was weakened, leading to it falling later to Thebes

Mauryan Empire

Founded by Chandragupta Maurya
The empire was divided into segments called provinces
One of the most famous ruler was Ashoka Maurya
Mauryan dynasty fell apart about 50 years after Ashoka's death

Punic Wars

A series of wars between Rome and Carthage (a wealthy Phoenician colony)
Rome took Sicily in the first war
Hannibal of Carthage was defeated in the second war
Rome completely destroyed Carthage in the third war (Cato)

Qin Dynasty

Qin Shihuangdi
Harsh, ambitious leader,
Centralized state, killed or exiled anyone who resisted his authority
Burned books that did not go with his beliefs, burned scholars alive
Expanded the empire, standardized Chinese script and coinage, built new roads and canals, improved trade

Han Dynasty

Overthrew the Qin
First use of the civil service exam, Silk Roads begin to be used
Science and technology prospered, invented paper, improved the plow, calculated the year to be 365.25 days
Disease, unfairly treated peasants, and the Yellow Turban Rebellion all helped lead to the fall of the Han Dynasty.


Made pottery and textiles
Nazca Lines (geoglyphs)

Roman Empire

Augustus (Octavian) 1st emperor
Pax Romana-200 years of Roman peace and prosperity
Family became less important
Long distance trade, wealthy class
Roman Aqueducts, Roman Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Pantheon
The large size, series of poor leaders, invasions from Germanic tribes, and economic issues lead to the decline of the Roman Empire
Eastern Rome became the Byzantine Empire while western Rome collapsed in 476 CE

25 photos show what Iran looked like before the 1979 revolution turned the nation into an Islamic republic

In the decades before the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran was ruled by the Shah, whose dictatorship repressed dissent and restricted political freedoms.

But he also he pushed the country to adopt Western-oriented secular modernization, allowing some degree of cultural freedom.

Under the Shah's rule, Iran's economy and educational opportunities expanded. Britain and the US counted Iran as their major ally in the Middle East, and the Shah forcefully industrialized large segments of the country.

But the Shah's increasingly authoritarian measures and his eventual dismissal of multiparty rule set the stage for the infamous revolution.

Still, for a period of almost 40 years, the Shah led Iran through a series of sweeping changes.

Significant Cyber Incidents

This timeline records significant cyber incidents since 2006. We focus on cyber attacks on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars.

Below is a summary of incidents from over the last year. For the full list, click the download link above.

May 2021. The world’s largest meat processing company, Brazilian-based JBS, was the victim of a ransomware attack. The attack shut down facilities in the United States, Canada and Australia. The attack was attributed to the Russian speaking cybercrime group, REvil.

May 2021. On May 24th, hackers gained access to Fujitsu’s systems and stole files belonging to multiple Japanese government entities. So far four government agencies have been impacted.

May 2021. Cybersecurity researchers identified a North Korean hacking group to be responsible for a cyber espionage campaign, targeting high profile South Korean government officials, utilizing a phishing methodology. The group’s targets were based in South Korea and included: the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of the Embassy of Sri Lanka to the State (in ROK), International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Security Officer, Deputy Consul General at Korean Consulate General in Hong Kong, Seoul National University, and Daishin Securities.

May 2021. On May 14, Ireland’s national health service, the Health Service Executive (HSE), was the victim of a ransomware attack. Upon discovering the attack, government authorities shut down the HSE system. The attackers utilized the Conti ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), which is reported to be operated by a Russia-based cybercrime group.

May 2021. The FBI and the Australian Cyber Security Centre warned of an ongoing Avaddon ransomware campaign targeting multiple sectors in various countries. The reported targeted countries are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UAE, UK, US. The targeted industries include: academia, airlines, construction, energy, equipment, financial, freight, government, health, it, law enforcement, manufacturing, marketing, retail, pharmaceutical.

May 2021. On May 6, the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, was the target of a ransomware attack. The energy company shut down the pipeline and later paid a $5 million ransom. The attack is attributed to DarkSide, a Russian speaking hacking group.

May 2021. On May 4th and 5th, the Norwegian energy technology company Volue was the victim of a ransomware attack. The attack resulted in the shutdown of water and water treatment facilities in 200 municipalities, affecting approximately 85% of the Norwegian population.

May 2021. A large DDoS attack disabled the ISP used by Belgium’s government, impacting more than 200 organizations causing the cancellation of multiple Parliamentary meetings.

May 2021. A Chinese hacking group compromised a Russian defense contractor involved in designing nuclear submarines for the Russian navy.

April 2021. A hacking group compromised the social media accounts of Polish officials and used them to disseminate narratives critical of NATO. German authorities have reported that the same group has also attempted to compromise members of the Bundestag and state parliament.

April 2021. Hackers linked to the Chinese military conducted an espionage campaign targeting military and government organizations in Southeast Asia beginning in 2019

April 2021. Malware triggered an outage for airline reservation systems that caused the networks of 20 low-cost airlines around the world to crash

April 2021. Russian hackers targeted Ukrainian government officials with spearphishing attempts as tensions between the two nations rose during early 2021

April 2021. Hackers linked to Palestinian intelligence conducted a cyber espionage campaign compromising approximately 800 Palestinian reporters, activists, and dissidents both in Palestine and more broadly across the Middle East.

April 2021. Two state-backed hacking groups—one of which works on behalf of the Chinese government—exploited vulnerabilities in a VPN service to target organizations across the U.S. and Europe with a particular focus on U.S. defense contractors.

April 2021. MI5 warned that over 10,000 UK professional shave been targeted by hostile states over the past five years as part of spearphishing and social engineering campaigns on LinkedIn.

April 2021. Swedish officials disclosed that the Swedish Sports Confederation was hacked by Russian military intelligence in late 2017 and early 2018 in response to accusations of Russian government-sponsored doping of Russian athletes

April 2021. French security researchers found that the number of attacks hitting critical French businesses increased fourfold in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 2021. The European Commission announced that the EC and multiple other EU organizations were hit by a major cyberattack by unknow

April 2021. Chinese hackers launched a months-long cyber espionage campaign during the second half of 2020 targeting government agencies in Vietnam with the intent of gathering political intelligence

March 2021. The North Korean hacking group responsible for a set of attacks on cybersecurity researchers in January 2021 launched a new campaign targeting infosec professionals using fake social media profiles and a fake website for a non-existent security service companyo target

March 2021. Suspected Iranian hackers targeted medical researchers in Israel and the U.S. in an attempt to steal the credentials of geneticists, neurologists, and oncologists in the two countries

March 2021. Suspected Russian hackers stole thousands of emails after breaching the email server of the U.S. State Department

March 2021. Suspected state hackers targeted the Australian media company Nine Entertainment with a ransomware variant, disrupting live broadcasts and print production systems.

March 2021. Suspected Russian hackers attempted to gain access to the personal email accounts of German parliamentarians in the run-up to Germany’s national elections

March 2021. U.S. Cyber Command confirmed that it was assisting Columbia in responding to election interference and influence operations.

March 2021. The head of U.S. Cyber Command testified that the organization had conducted more than two dozen operations to confront foreign threats ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, including eleven forward hunt operations in nine different countries.

March 2021. A group of Chinese hackers used Facebook to send malicious links to Uyghur activists, journalists, and dissidents located abroad.

March 2021. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team found evidence of Chinese hackers conducting a cyber espionage campaign against the Indian transportation sector

March 2021. Polish security services announced that suspected Russian hackers briefly took over the websites of Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency and Health Ministry to spread false alerts of a nonexistent radioactive threat.

March 2021. Both Russian and Chinese intelligence services targeted the European Medicines Agency in 2020 in unrelated campaigns, stealing documents relating to COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

March 2021. Ukraine’s State Security Service announced it had prevented a large-scale attack by Russian FSB hackers attempting to gain access to classified government data.

March 2021. Lithuania’s State Security Department declared that Russian hackers had targeted top Lithuanian officials in 2020 and used the country’s IT infrastructure to carry out attacks against organizations involved in developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

March 2021. Suspected Iranian hackers targeted government agencies, academia, and the tourism industry in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE as part of a cyber espionage campaign.

March 2021. Chinese government hackers targeted Microsoft’s enterprise email software to steal data from over 30,000 organizations around the world, including government agencies, legislative bodies, law firms, defense contractors, infectious disease researchers, and policy think tanks.

March 2021. Suspected Chinese hackers targeted electricity grid operators in India in an apparent attempt to lay the groundwork for possible future attacks.

February 2021. A Portuguese-speaking cyber criminal group accessed computer systems at a division of Oxford University researching COVID-19 vaccines, and are suspected to be selling the data they collected to nation states.

February 2021. North Korean hackers targeted defense firms in more than a dozen countries in an espionage campaign starting in early 2020.

February 2021. Hackers associated with the Chinese military conducted a surveillance campaign against Tibetans both in China and abroad.

February 2021. Russian hackers compromised a Ukrainian government file-sharing system and attempted to disseminate malicious documents that would install malware on computers that downloaded the planted files.

February 2021. Hackers linked to the Vietnamese government conducted a nearly three-year cyber espionage campaign against human rights advocates in the country by using spyware to infiltrate individuals’ systems, spy on their activity, and exfiltrate data.

February 2021. Ukrainian officials reported that a multi-day distributed denial-of-service attack against the website of the Security Service of Ukraine was part of Russia’s hybrid warfare operations in the country.

February 2021. The US Department of Justice indicted three North Korean hackers for conspiring to steal and extort more than $1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrencies.

February 2021. Iranian hackers took control of a server in Amsterdam and used it as a command and control center for attacks against political opponents in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and India.

February 2021. North Korean hackers attempted to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical company Pfizer to gain information about vaccines and treatments for the COVID-19.

February 2021. Suspected Iranian hackers targeted government agencies in the UAE as part of a cyber espionage campaign related to the normalizations of relations with Israel.

February 2021. The French national cybersecurity agency announced that a four-year campaign against French IT providers was the work of a Russian hacking group.

February 2021. Suspected Indian hackers targeted over 150 individuals in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and India using mobile malware, including those with links to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the Pakistan Air Force, and election officials in Kashmir.

February 2021. Ten members of a cybercriminal gang were arrested after a campaign where they tricked telecom companies into assigning celebrities’ phone numbers to new devices, stealing more than $100 million worth of cryptocurrencies.

February 2021. Unknown hackers attempted to raise levels of sodium hydroxide in the water supply of Oldsmar, Florida by a factor of 100 by exploiting a remote access system.

February 2021. Two Iranian hacking groups conducted espionage campaigns against Iranian dissidents in sixteen countries in the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and North America.

January 2021. Hackers linked to Hezbollah breached telecom companies, internet service providers, and hosting providers in the US, UK, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Palestinian Authority for intelligence gathering and data theft.

January 2021. North Korean government hackers engaged in a sophisticated social engineering campaign against cybersecurity researchers that used multiple fake twitter accounts and a fake blog to drive targets to infected sites or induce them to open infected attachments in emails asking the target to collaborate on a research project.

January 2021. Suspected Indian hackers active since 2012 were attacked business and governments across South and East Asia, with a particular emphasis on military and government organizations in Pakistan, China, Nepal, and Afghanistan, and businesses involved in defense technology, scientific research, finance, energy, and mining.

January 2021. Unidentified hackers breached one of the data centers of New Zealand’s central bank.

January 2021. Hackers linked to the Chinese government were responsible for ransomware attacks against five major gaming and gambling countries, demanding over $100 million in ransom.

December 2020. Iranian state hackers used a Christmas theme for a spearphishing campaign targeting think tanks, research organizations, academics, journalists, and activists in the Persian Gulf, EU, and US

December 2020. Chinese hackers targeted the Finnish parliament, breaching the email accounts of parliament members and other employees

December 2020. African Union staff found that Chinese hackers had been siphoning off security footage from cameras installed in the AU headquarters

December 2020. One Saudi hacking group, One UAE hacking group, and two unknown government-sponsored hacking groups used spyware purchased from the Israeli vendor NSO Group to hack 36 phones belonging to Al Jazeera employees.

December 2020. Facebook found that two groups of Russians and one group of individuals affiliated with the French military were using fake Facebook accounts to conduct dueling political information operations in Africa.

December 2020. More than 40 Israeli companies had data stolen after Iranian hackers compromised a developer of logistics management software and used their access to exfiltrate data from the firm’s clients

December 2020. Unknown state-sponsored hackers took advantage of territory disputes between China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan to target government and military organizations across South Asia, including the Nepali Army and Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense, and the Afghan National security Council and Presidential Palace.

December 2020. Facebook announced that its users had been targeted by two hacking campaigns, one originating from state-sponsored Vietnamese hackers focused on spreading malware, and the other from two non-profit groups in Bangladesh focused on compromising accounts and coordinating the reporting of accounts and pages for removal

December 2020. Suspected Chinese hackers targeted government agencies and the National Data Center of Mongolia as part of a phishing campaign

December 2020. Hackers accessed data related to the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer during an attack on the European Medicines Agency.

December 2020. Over 200 organizations around the world—including multiple US government agencies—were revealed to have been breached by Russian hackers who compromised the software provider SolarWinds and exploited their access to monitor internal operations and exfiltrate data.

December 2020. A criminal group targeted the Israeli insurance company Shirbit with ransomware, demanding almost $1 million in bitcoin. The hackers published some sensitive personal information after making their demands and threatened to reveal more if they did not receive payment.

December 2020. CISA and the FBI announced that U.S. think tanks focusing on national security and international affairs were being targeted by state-sponsored hacking groups

December 2020. Suspected state-sponsored hackers from an unknown country conducted a spear phishing campaign against organizations in six countries involved in providing special temperature-controlled environments to support the COVID-19 supply chain.

November 2020. A Mexican facility owned by Foxconn was hit by a ransomware attack that the hackers claim resulted in 1,200 servers being encrypted, 20-30 TB of backups being deleted, and 100 GB of encrypted files being stolen.

November 2020. North Korean hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine developer AstraZeneca by posing as recruiters and sending the company’s employees fake job offers that included malware

November 2020. Chinese hackers targeted Japanese organizations in multiple industry sectors located in multiple regions around the globe, including North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

November 2020. Suspected Chinese government hackers conducted a cyber espionage campaign from 2018 to 2020 targeting government organizations in Southeast Asia

November 2020. A North Korean hacking group engaged in software supply chain attacks against South Korean internet users by compromising legitimate South Korean security software

November 2020. One Russian and two North Korean hacking groups launched attacks against seven companies involved in COVID-19 vaccine research

November 2020. A group of hackers for hire launched attacks against a group of targets in South Asia, and particularly India, Bangladesh, and Singapore. These attacks included the use of a custom backdoor and credential theft

November 2020. A group of Vietnamese hackers created and maintained a number of fake websites devoted to news and activism in Southeast Asia that were used to profile users, re-direct to phishing pages, and distribute malware

November 2020. U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA conducted offensive cyber operations against Iran to prevent interference in the upcoming U.S. elections.

November 2020. Hamas used a secret headquarters in Turkey to carry out cyberattacks and counter-intelligence operations

October 2020. The U.S. government announces that Iranian hackers targeted state election websites in order to download voter registration information and conduct a voter intimidation campaign

October 2020. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry responded to accusations that Chinese state-sponsored hackers were targeting the U.S. defense industrial base by declaring that the United States was an “empire of hacking,” citing 2013 leaks about the NSA’s Prism program.

October 2020. India's National Cyber Security Coordinator announced that cyber crimes in India cost almost $17 billion in 2019.

October 2020. A Russian cyber espionage group hacked into an unidentified European government organization

October 2020. Iranian hackers targeted attendees of the Munich Security Conference in order to gather intelligence on foreign policy from the compromised individuals

October 2020. Greek hackers defaced the website of the Turkish Parliament and 150 Azerbaijani government websites in support of Armenia.

October 2020. The FBI, CISA and U.S. Cyber Command announced that a North Korean hacking group had been conducting a cyber espionage campaign against individual experts, think tanks, and government entities in South Korea, Japan, and the United States with the purpose of collecting intelligence on national security issues related to the Korean peninsula, sanctions, and nuclear policy

October 2020. The FBI and CISA announced that a Russian hacking group breached U.S. state and local government networks, as well as aviation networks, and exfiltrated data

October 2020. A North Korean hacker group carried out attacks against aerospace and defense companies in Russia.

October 2020. An Iranian hacking group conducted a phishing campaign against universities in Australia, Canada, the UK, the U.S., the Netherlands, Singapore, Denmark, and Sweden.

October 2020. Suspected Iranian hackers targeted government agencies and telecommunications operators in Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and the UAE as part of a cyber espionage campaign

October 2020. The NSA warned that Chinese government hackers were targeting the U.S. defense industrial base as part of a wide-ranging espionage campaign

October 2020. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre found evidence that Russian military intelligence hackers had been planning a disruptive cyber attack on the later-postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

October 2020. The U.S. indicted six Russian GRU officers for their involvement in hacking incidents including the 2015 and 2016 attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure, the 2017 NotPetya ransomware outbreak, election interference in the 2017 French elections, and others.

October 2020. Iran announced that the country’s Ports and Maritime Organization and one other unspecified government agency had come under cyberattack

October 2020. Microsoft and U.S. Cyber Command both independently undertook operations to take down a Russian botnet ahead of the U.S. election.

October 2020. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that hackers targeted the U.S. Census Bureau in a possible attempt to collect bulk data, alter registration information, compromise census infrastructure, or conduct DoS attacks

October 2020. U.S. government officials revealed that suspected Chinese hackers were behind a series of attacks on entities in Russia, India, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Malaysia

October 2020. A Chinese group targeted diplomatic entities and NGOs in Africa, Asia, and Europe using advanced malware adapted from code leaked by the Italian hacking tool vendor HackingTeam

October 2020. Iranian hackers exploited a serious Windows vulnerability to target Middle Eastern network technology providers and organizations involved in work with refugees

October 2020. A cyber mercenary group targeted government officials and private organizations in South Asia and the Middle East using a combination of methods including zero-day exploits

October 2020. In the midst of escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an unknown intelligence service conducted a cyber espionage campaign targeting Azerbaijani government institutions

October 2020. A previously unknown cyber espionage group was found to have been stealing documents from government agencies and corporations in Eastern Europe and the Balkans since 2011.

October 2020. The UN shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported that its website and networks had been disrupted by a sophisticated cyber attack

October 2020. North Korean hackers targeted a ministry of health and a pharmaceutical company involved in COVID-19 research and response

September 2020. American healthcare firm Universal Health Systems sustained a ransomware attack that caused affected hospitals to revert to manual backups, divert ambulances, and reschedule surgeries

September 2020. French shipping company CMA CGM SA saw two of its subsidiaries in Asia hit with a ransomware attack that caused significant disruptions to IT networks, though did not affect the moving of cargo

September 2020. Russian hackers targeted government agencies in NATO member countries, and nations who cooperate with NATO. The campaign uses NATO training material as bait for a phishing scheme that infects target computers with malware that creates a persistent backdoor.

September 2020. Chinese hackers stole information related to Covid-19 vaccine development from Spanish research centers

September 2020. Iranian hackers targeted Iranian minorities, anti-regime organizations, and resistance members using a combination of malware including an Android backdoor designed to steal two factor authentication codes from text messages.

September 2020. Three hackers operating at the direction of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were indicted by the United States for attacks against workers at aerospace and satellite technology companies, as well as international government organizations.

September 2020. A ransomware attack on a German hospital may have led to the death of a patient who had to be redirected to a more distant hospital for treatment.

September 2020. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted five Chinese hackers with ties to Chinese intelligence services for attacks on more than 100 organizations across government, IT, social media, academia, and more

September 2020. The FBI and CISA announced that Iranian hackers had been exploiting publicly known vulnerabilities to target U.S. organizations in the IT, government, healthcare, finance, and media sectors.

September 2020. CISA revealed that hackers associated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security had been scanning U.S. government and private networks for over a year in search of networking devices that could be compromised using exploits for recently discovered vulnerabilities

September 2020. One government organization in the Middle East and one in North Africa were targeted with possible wiper malware that leveraged a ransomware-as-a-service offering that has recently become popular on cybercrime markets

September 2020. Georgian officials announce that COVID-19 research files at a biomedical research facility in Tbilisi was targeted as part of a cyberespionage campaign

September 2020. Norway announced it had defended against two sets of cyber attacks that targeted the emails of several members and employees of the Norwegian parliament as well as public employees in the Hedmark region. It later blamed Russia for the attack.

August 2020. A North Korean hacking group targeted 28 UN officials in a spear-phishing campaign, including at least 11 individuals representing six members of the UN Security Council.

August 2020. Hackers for hire suspected of operating on behalf of the Iranian government were found to have been working to gain access to sensitive information held by North American and Israeli entities across a range of sectors, including technology, government, defense, and healthcare.

August 2020. New Zealand’s stock exchange faced several days of disruptions after a severe distributed denial of service attack was launched by unknown actors

August 2020. U.S. officials announced that North Korean government hackers had been operating a campaign focused on stealing money from ATMs around the world.

August 2020. Suspected Pakistani hackers used custom malware to steal files from victims in twenty-seven countries, most prominently in India and Afghanistan.

August 2020. Ukrainian officials announced that a Russian hacking group had begun to conduct a phishing campaign in preparations for operations on Ukraine’s independence day

August 2020. Taiwan accused Chinese hackers of infiltrating the information systems of at least ten government agencies and 6,000 email accounts to gain access to citizens’ personal data and government information.

August 2020. A Chinese cyber espionage group targeted military and financial organizations across Eastern Europe

August 2020. The Israeli defense ministry announced that it had successfully defended against a cyberattack on Israeli defense manufacturers launched by a suspected North Korean hacking group

August 2020. An Iranian hacking group was found to be targeting major U.S. companies and government agencies by exploiting recently disclosed vulnerabilities in high-end network equipment to create backdoors for other groups to use

August 2020. Pakistan announced that hackers associated with Indian intelligence agencies had targeted the mobile phones of Pakistani government officials and military personnel

August 2020. Seven semiconductor vendors in Taiwan were the victim of a two-year espionage campaign by suspected Chinese state hackers targeting firms’ source code, software development kits, and chip designs.

August 2020. Russian hackers compromised news sites and replaced legitimate articles with falsified posts that used fabricated quotes from military and political officials to discredit NATO among Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian audiences.

July 2020. Israel announced that two cyber attacks had been carried out against Israeli water infrastructure, though neither were successful

July 2020. Chinese state-sponsored hackers broke into the networks of the Vatican to conduct espionage in the lead-up to negotiations about control over the appointment of bishops and the status of churches in China.

July 2020. Canada, the UK, and the U.S. announced that hackers associated with Russian intelligence had attempted to steal information related to COVID-19 vaccine development

July 2020. The UK announced that it believed Russia had attempted to interfere in its 2019 general election by stealing and leaking documents related to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement

July 2020. Media reports say a 2018 Presidential finding authorized the CIA to conduct cyber operations against Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. The operations included disruption and public leaking of information.

July 2020. President Trump confirmed that he directly authorized a 2019 operation by US Cyber Command taking the Russian Internet Research Agency offline.

June 2020. Uyghur and Tibetan mobile users were targeted by a mobile malware campaign originating in China that had been ongoing since 2013

June 2020. A hacking group affiliated with an unknown government was found to have targeted a range of Kurdish individuals in Turkey and Syria at the same time as Turkey launched its offensive into northeastern Syria.

June 2020. The most popular of the tax reporting software platforms China requires foreign companies to download to operate in the country was discovered to contain a backdoor that could allow malicious actors to conduct network reconnaissance or attempt to take remote control of company systems

June 2020. Nine human rights activists in India were targeted as part of a coordinated spyware campaign that attempted to use malware to log their keystrokes, record audio, and steal credentials

June 2020. A Moroccan journalist was targeted by unknown actors who sent him phishing messages that could have been used to download spyware developed by Israeli NSO group

June 2020. North Korean state hackers sent COVID-19-themed phishing emails to more than 5 million businesses and individuals in Singapore, Japan, the United States, South Korea, India, and the UK in an attempt to steal personal and financial data

June 2020. The Australian Prime Minister announced that an unnamed state actor had been targeting businesses and government agencies in Australia as part of a large-scale cyber attack.

June 2020. In the midst of escalating tensions between China and India over a border dispute in the Galwan Valley, Indian government agencies and banks reported being targeted by DDoS attacks reportedly originating in China

NATO Review: where the experts come to talk

NATO Review online magazine looks at key security issues through the eyes of the experts

How important does Madeleine Albright believe energy security is? Where does Paddy Ashdown believe the Balkans is heading? And how do award-winning journalists, economists and researchers see the future in diverse issues from organised crime to climate change?

Cyber attacks - when the most serious ones happened, to whom - and the consequences.

‘A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremists groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack on 9/11.’

Leon E. Panetta
(Former US Secretary of Defense)

And NATO is not immune. In 2012 alone, NATO's systems suffered over 2,500 significant cyber attacks. None broke through its defences. But it is just one part of the backdrop to NATO having its first ministerial level discussion of how to provide cybersecurity.

At that meeting, it was agreed that a NATO cyberdefence capability should be fully operational by autumn 2013.

'We are all closely connected. So an attack on one Ally, if not dealt with quickly and effectively, can affect us all. Cyber-defence is only as effective as the weakest link in the chain. By working together, we strengthen the chain,' said NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Timeline on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious issues challenging the West, including the United States and Israel, which has been involved in a shadow war with the country. Related Article

The shah creates the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which conducts training for its personnel and nuclear deals with countries including the United States, France, West Germany, Namibia and South Africa. By training engineers in Iran and abroad, the country gains a solid understanding of nuclear technologies and capabilities.

A year later, Kraftwerk Union, a West German company, agrees to construct two light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at the Bushehr complex, 470 miles south of Tehran. Construction begins in 1974 but the contract is not signed until 1976.

By the late 1970s, the United States becomes worried that Iran may harbor nuclear weapon ambitions.

The shah is overthrown and flees the country, in what becomes known as the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar takes over and cancels the $6.2 billion contract for the construction of two nuclear power plants at the Bushehr complex.

The United States retracts a deal it had made with Iran a year earlier and stops supplying enriched uranium for the Tehran research reactor.

Khomeini Comes to Power Prime Minister Bakhtiar is overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled cleric, after bloody clashes in Tehran.

The new leader is uninterested in the nuclear program and ends the shah's effort. Many nuclear experts flee the country.

Any nuclear cooperation between Iran and the United States breaks down completely with the American Embassy hostage crisis from November 1979 until January 1981.

The Iran-Iraq war, from 1980 to 1988, changes Iran's thinking about the nuclear program. With Saddam Hussein pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini secretly decides to restart Iran's program and seeks the assistance of German partners to complete the construction at Bushehr, which was damaged by bombs during the war.

Help From Pakistani Scientist

In the late 1980s, Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist and the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, sells Iran, North Korea and Libya his uranium enrichment technology, and in Libya's case, a bomb design. The transactions do not become public until years later.

In 2005, the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency is on the verge of reviewing Tehran's nuclear program when Iranian officials admit to a 1987 meeting with Dr. Khan's representatives. But Tehran tells the agency that it turned down the chance to buy the equipment required to build the core of a bomb.

New Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's nominal president for eight years, becomes supreme leader after Ayatollah Khomeini dies. Iran and Russia Sign Nuclear Contract

Iran announces that it will sign an $800 million contract with Russia to complete construction on one of two light water reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant within four years. After many delays, the project was completed in 2010.

The United States has been persuading countries like Argentina, India, Spain, Germany and France to prohibit the sale of nuclear technology to Iran's civilian program.

Sanctions Against Iran and Libya With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, President Bill Clinton signs a bill imposing sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran and Libya. Such rules are already in place for American companies. Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast

President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.

He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel's nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.

Discovery of Secret Plants

Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.

The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an "across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction," but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.

Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.

Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.

Violation and New Agreement

Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran's production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.

In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran's suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.

With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran's Nuclear Aims

Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments -- studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.

Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran's weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.

But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.

Ahmadinejad Elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’' and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.” Natanz Production Is Restarted

Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.

The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence" among the atomic agency's members "that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor

Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.

In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran's nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.

First Round of U.N. Sanctions The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles. U.S. - Israel Cyberattacks Begin

President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.

The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.

International talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.

Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.

U.S. Joins Regular Iran Talks Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces that the United States will participate in talks with Iran involving five other nations: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’

American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.

The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.

Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability.

When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.

The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.

The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004," contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.

Computer Worms Leak Online 1,000 Centrifuges Destroyed

The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.

President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.

U.N. Approves New Sanctions

The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.

The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries' nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.

Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders

Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran's nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero's welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)

The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran's nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.

Bombings Strike Scientists in Iran Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran's top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran's nuclear program.

The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ''major project'' for the country's Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important he is on the United Nations Security Council's sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort. West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work

Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.

The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.

After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.

With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.

A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes

A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.

Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.

Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect. New Centrifuges at Natanz

Iran says it is building about 3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz plant.

Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.

But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.

Talks With West Falter After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ''no progress'' toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads. Embargo on Iranian Oil

A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran's ability to sell its most important export.

In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.

In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.

The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.

The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.

Israel's 'Red Line' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon. Iran's Currency Tumbles

After months of harsh, American-led sanctions, Iran's currency, the rial, plunges 40 percent. The currency lost about half its value in 2012.

Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.

The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran's banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.

Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.

A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.

A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.

The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.

Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.

A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.

Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.

The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.

Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.

Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says

President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.

Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran

The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.

The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.

After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production

Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks that ended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.

US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions

The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.

Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran

In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran. Fearing Price Increases, Iranians Hoard Goods

Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.

Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.

Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Those Aiding Iran

The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.

The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.

Iran Is Seen Advancing Nuclear Bid

The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the "red line" that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.

In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.

U.S. Adds to Its List of Sanctions Against Iran

The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.

The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.

The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.

Iran Elects New President

Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.

The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.

Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors' foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.

Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says

I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report's disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon. Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions

Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.

The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”

Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran's economic isolation.

At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel's nuclear arsenal in a public - while the country's leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.

First Direct US-Iran Talk Since 1979

President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.

Moments before Mr. Obama's announcement, Mr. Rouhani's Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: "In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: "Have a Nice Day!" @BarackObama: "Thank you. Khodahafez." Iran Talks Called Substantive

Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.

The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.

Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections

The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.

Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.

Obama Calls for Patience in Iran Talks

I.A.E.A. inspectors release a report stating that for the first time in years, they saw evidence that the Iranians have put the brakes on their nuclear expansion.

President Obama makes an appeal to Congress to give breathing space to his efforts to forge a nuclear deal with Iran.

Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program

The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.

The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.

Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord

Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.

The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.

Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.” Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal Accepts Limit

As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.

The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended, Diplomats Say

Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons. Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost

Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.

A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?

Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks

As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.

American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.

It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months

A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.

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