1979-2000

1979 — The Iranian Revolution took place, removing Shah Pahlavi and his cronies from rule. In the power vacuum that remained, the Islamic Republic of Iran, ruled by a Guardianship of Islamic Jurists and a Grand Ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, was established, marking a significant change in the rule of the country from a modernized monarchy to a theocracy.

1980 — The Iran-Iraq war, also known as the Eight Year War, began when Saddam Hussein launched a multi-pronged attack against neighboring Iran.

1981 — Despite massive support from many Western and Middle Eastern countries, Iraq’s offensive terminated in a stalemate by December, primarily due to an overwhelming civilian resistance from the Persians and the lack of morale in the Iraqi army. Their massive desertion back to Iraq led to the recapture of Iranian cities, and the break of multiple sieges.

1982 — Hussein offered Khomeini a ceasefire agreement. The Grand Ayatollah refused, and Iranian forces pushed further, into Iraq. This continuation of the war eventually evolved on several other fronts, taking in both the local shipping routes in the Tanker Wars as well as resulting in massive civilian death tolls during the War of the Cities, a series of bombings, missile attacks, and air strikes against population centers in both countries.

1984 — Sarin nerve agents and mustard gas were used by Saddam Hussein to attack Iranian soldiers. These and the vast majority of other munitions were supplied by NATO members such as West Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and most notably, the United States of America, which provided the American Type Culture Collection Strain 14578, the basis for Hussein’s Anthrax bio-weaponry program. There was also significant aid to Iraq from neighboring Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Interestingly, Israel also lent support during the Eight Year War — to Iran alone. This contrasted with the contributions of most other major powers — the U.S., U.S.S.R., and Chinese all supported both sides through various agreements and supplies.

1987 — October 19th, known as Black Monday, marked the greatest single day decline in the U.S. stock market, and held similar records across the globe. Financial panics, the result of illiquidity and market psychology, encouraged furious sell-offs that resulted in a major drop in inflation and the collapse of several small markets around the planet. Many nations settled into slow growth periods instead of continuing to pursue their post-war recovery growth patterns.

1988 — Iran, realizing that the offensive into Iraq could not be won, offered to participate in a ceasefire arrangement. Saddam insisted that this could not take place until the Grand Ayatollah renounced his call for the overthrow of Hussein’s regime, a move that was ignored at first by Khomeini. Only after the cyanide bombing of an Iranian Kurdish village did Khomeini accept United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, which established a tentative peace between the two nations.

It is worth remarking that the cyanide bombing in Iran mirrored a similar bombing Iraqi forces had done to their own Kurds as part of Hussein’s homefront genocide during the same time period. None of these attacks caused cessation of supply from Western nations, and while little mention of the Iranian bombing was made in the press or in history books, Hussein’s bombing of the domestic Kurdish population was often cited as one of the reasons for the first and second Gulf Wars.

2000 — Venezuela hit their peak oil production.

On October 30th, the U.N.-administered account in New York where Iraqi oil was traded switched from the USD to the Euro, at a penalty of 80 cents per dollar for the weaker Euro. Iraq claimed this was both in protest of American foreign policy as well as to express faith in global currencies other than the dollar. While seen as outright foolishness given the exchange rate, Iraq would profit the following year when the Euro came into its own as a global currency.

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