Following is a chronology of the turmoil in Iran that led to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's departure and the resignation of his latest prime minister, Shahpour Bakhtiar.

JAN. 7, 1978

Religious riots erupt in the holy city of Qom on the 15th anniversary of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's land reform and women's emancipation decrees, two measures despised by Iran's 180,000 Moslem preachers. Seven demonstrators are killed, setting off a cycle of anti-shah violence on each successive 40th day of Moslem morning.


Shah replaces the chief of SAVAK, the secret police, Gen. Nematullah Nassiri, with Lt. Gen. Nasser Moghadam. Nassiri later is arrested on charges of corruption and torturing prisoners.

AUG. 20

A packed movie theater in Abadan, site of the world's largest oil refinery, catches fire and 377 persons perish. The government blames Islamic Marxists; the shah's opponents accuse SAVAK of setting the fire.

AUG. 27

Prime Minister Jamshid Amouzegar resigns and Jaafar Sharif-Emami replaces him. To appease opponents, the shah dismisses a number of high-ranking members of the Bahai religious sect, including his personal physician, and orders gambling casinos closed.


Martial law is imposed in Tehran and 11 other cities after 100,000 anti-shah demonstrators stage a protest march. Troops open fire on demonstrators in the capital's Jaleh Square, killing 121 and wounding 200 others.

OCT. 31

Iran's petroleum exports are disrupted as 37,000 oil workers begin wildcat strikes that ultimately reduce production from 6 million barrels a day to a trickle.

NOV. 6

Prime Minister Sharif-Emami's Cabinet resigns and is replaced by a military government headed by Gen. Gholam-Reza Azhari, the country's first military government since 1953. Several newspaper editors are arrested and censorship is reimposed, prompting a newspaper strike.

NOV. 13

Anti-Americanism intensifies and 200 American technicians are escorted from the telecommunications organization building in Tehran under police protection after being threatened by local employes. An exodus of Americans from Iran begins that reduces their number from 45,000 to 7,000 by February. Many other foreign workers begin to leave.

NOV. 27

The United States warns the Soviet Union to stay out of the Iranian crisis. A week earlier, Moscow had cautioned Washington against military intervention there.

DEC. 24

U.S. Marine guards lob tear gas cannisters to drive away a mob trying to storm the U.S. Embassy.

DEC. 29

Shah asks Shahpour Bakhtiar, 62-year-old number two man in the opposition National Front, to form a new civilian government.

JAN. 11, 1979

Bakhtiar goes before parliament for a vote of confidence and tells the Majlis, the lower house, that his government will shut off oil to Israel and South Africa, dissolve SAVAK, fire unneeded foreign workers, free political prisoners, and closely cooperate with religious leaders.

JAN. 13

The shah appoints a Regency Council to represent the crown during his absence, while Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini announces from his Paris exile headquarters the formation of a revolutionary council to prepare for an Islamic republic.

JAN. 17

The shah and his empress, Farah, leave Iran on what is officially described as a prolonged vacation but widely interpreted as the beginning of exile. The royal couple goes to Egypt, calls off plans to continue to the United States, and moves on instead to Morocco.

FEB. 1

Khomeini returns to a triumphant welcome in Tehran after 14 years of exile, opening his on-the-ground struggle with Bakhtiar.

FEB. 5

Khomeini names Mehdi Bazargan as prime minister of a provisional government designed to set up an Islamic republic.