After World War II, the United States and Britain supported the pro-Western shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. They engineered a coup against the prime minister in 1953 after the government nationalized the oil industry. The shah then embarked on 25 years of economic and social modernization that alienated the clergy. He was overthrown in 1979 by an anti-American Islamic fundamentalist regime that the West fears is now developing atomic weapons.
1979 Militant students storm the US Embassy in Tehran, seizing hostages â€“ 52 are held for 444 days.
1985 The Iran-contra affair begins: The US â€“ seeking Iranian influence in the release of hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon â€“ sells arms to Iran; proceeds go to anticommunist contras in Nicaragua.
1988 The warship USS Vincennes mistakenly shoots down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 on board.
1993 The US implicates Iran in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.
1995 Washington imposes an embargo on Iran.
2002 President Bush calls Iran part of the "axis of evil."
Construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor begins at Bushehr.
2005 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad affirms Iran's right to "master" the nuclear cycle.
2007 The IAEA says Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in three to eight years.
2008 Iran test-fires a long-range missile it says can hit targets in Israel.
2009 Mr. Ahmadinejad claims reelection victory, unleashing widespread unrest.
Iran announces a plan to create 10 more uranium enrichment facilities.
2010 The UN Security Council approves a fourth round of sanctions against Iran.
The sentencing of a woman to die by stoning for adultery causes a global outcry.
One of three US citizens arrested while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border is freed after a year in prison.
A nuclear scientist is killed by a car bomb in Tehran; Iran implicates US, Britain, and Israel.
Source: Wire services