--- Victory of the Islamic Revolution
In 1921 Reza Khan, Prime Minister of Iran and former general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, overthrew the incompetent and corrupt Qajar Dynasty and became Shah. An ardent nationalist, Reza Shah initiated policies of military, administrative and financial modernisation and centralization. He quickly persuaded the Russians to withdraw from Iran. Industrialization, the construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway and the establishment of a national education system can be named as some of his reforms. However, in 1941 he had been forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, by Britain and the USSR, who were both fearful of Reza Shah's nascent ties to Germany and in need of supply lines for the Allied war effort in the form of the new Trans-Iranian Railway. During World War II, Iran was once again subject to British and Russian occupation. In 1951, after the assassination of prime minister Ali Razmara, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister by a parliamentary vote which was then ratified by the Shah. As prime minister, Mosaddegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. In response, the British government, headed by Winston Churchill, embargoed Iranian oil and successfully enlisted the United States to join in a plot to depose the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh. In 1953 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation, supported by the Shah, was successful, and Mosaddegh was arrested on 19 August 1953. The coup was the first time the US had openly overthrown an elected, civilian government of another sovereign state.
After Operation Ajax, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi favoured American and British oil interests and his rule became increasingly autocratic. With American support, the Shah was able to rapidly modernize the Iranian infrastructure and military. However, his rule was also corrupt and repressive. Arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, SAVAK, were used to crushed all forms of political opposition. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's White Revolution and publicly denounced the government. Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah sent him into exile. He went first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France. While in exile, Khomeini continued to denounce the Shah.
By the mid-1970s, there was growing unrest with the Shah's repressive regime. The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. Minor political reforms and the release of some political prisoners in 1978 failed to satisfy the growing opposition. In November 1978, the Shah imposed martial law and implemented a new crackdown in an attempt to crush opposition. After strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country and its economy, the Shah fled the country in January 1979 and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran. His departure was tantamount to abdication. The Pahlavi dynasty collapsed ten days later, on 11 February, when Iran's military declared itself "neutral". Armed civilians and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in a climatic 3-days of street fighting. Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979, when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so. In parallel nation wide uprisings against the new regime erupted in Kordestan, Khuzestan, Balochistan and other areas, though were eventually subdued, with some lasting until late 1980.
Japan (660 BC)
--- Foundation Day --- Crowning of Jimmu, the First Emperor
According to the legendary account in the Kojiki, Emperor Jimmu would have been born on 13 February 711 BC (the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar), and died, again according to legend, on 11 March 585 BC (both dates according to the lunisolar traditional Japanese calendar). According to Shinto belief, Jimmu is regarded as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto. She sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventually married Konohana-Sakuya-hime. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, also called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Toyotama-hime. She was the daughter of Ryūjin, the Japanese sea god. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Tamayori-hime, his mother's younger sister. They eventually married and had a total of four sons. The last of these sons, Kamuyamato Iwarebiko, became Emperor Jimmu. It is said that, soon after the beginning of Jimmu's reign, a Master of Ceremonies (saishu) was appointed. This office was commonly held by a member of the Nakatomi clan after the eighth century.
According to the Kojiki, Jimmu died when he was 126 years old. This emperor's posthumous name literally means "divine might" or "god-warrior". It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Jimmu. It is generally thought that Jimmu's name and character evolved into their present shape just before the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were chronicled in the Kojiki.
New Year's Day in the Japanese lunisolar calendar was traditionally celebrated as the regnal day of Emperor Jimmu. In 1872, the Meiji government proclaimed 11 February 660 BC, in the Gregorian calendar the foundation day of Japan, which was then commemorated as the holiday Kigensetsu ("Era Day") until 1948. Suspended after World War II, the celebration was reinstated in 1966 as the national holiday Kenkoku Kinen no hi ("National Foundation Day").