A report on Iran–Iraq War

Top-left to bottom-right: Iranian child soldier on the frontlines

Iranian soldier in a trench wearing a gas mask to guard against Iraqi chemical attacks

Port quarter view of the USS Stark listing to port after being mistakenly struck by an Iraqi warplane

Pro-Iraq MEK forces killed during Iran's Operation Mersad

Iraqi prisoners of war after the recapture of Khorramshahr by Iranian forces

ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun being used by the Iranian Army
Meeting of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Houari Boumédiène and Saddam Hussein (left to right) during the Algiers Agreement in 1975.
Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power after the Iranian Revolution.
Location of Khuzestan Province in Iran which Iraq planned to annex
Iranian President Abolhassan Banisadr, who was also commander-in-chief, on a Jeep-mounted 106mm recoilless anti-tank gun. Banisadr was impeached in June 1981.
The Shatt al-Arab on the Iran–Iraq border
Destroyed Iranian C-47 Skytrain
Iranian F-14A Tomcats equipped with AIM-54A, AIM-7 and AIM-9 missiles.
Resistance of the outnumbered and outgunned Iranians in Khorramshahr slowed the Iraqis for a month.
Iranian president Abulhassan Banisadr on the battlefront
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Massoud Rajavi, the leader of MEK and the National Resistance Council of Iran (NCRI) in 1988.
The surprise attack on H-3 airbase is considered to be one of the most sophisticated air operations of the war.
Iranian soldier holding an IV bag during the Iran–Iraq War
Iranian Northrop F-5 aircraft during Iran-Iraq war
Iraqi T-62 tank wreckage in Khuzestan Province, Iran
Iraqi soldiers surrendering after the Liberation of Khorramshahr
Saddam Hussein in 1982
An admonitory declaration issued from the Iraqi government in order to warn Iranian troops in the Iran–Iraq War. The statement says: "Hey Iranians! No one has been downtrodden in the country where Ali ibn Abi Ṭālib, Husayn ibn Ali and Abbas ibn Ali are buried. Iraq has undoubtedly been an honorable country. All refugees are precious. Anyone who wants to live in exile can choose Iraq freely. We, the Sons of Iraq, have been ambushing foreign aggressors. The enemies who plan to assault Iraq will be disfavoured by God in this world and the hereafter. Be careful of attacking Iraq and Ali ibn Abi Ṭālib! If you surrender, you might be in peace."
95,000 Iranian child soldiers were made casualties during the Iran–Iraq War, mostly between the ages of 16 and 17, with a few younger.
Furthest ground gains
Iranian POWs in 1983 near Tikrit, Iraq
Iranian child soldier
Iraqi POW who was shot by Iranian troops after they conquered the Iraqi Majnoon oil field in October 1984
Iranian troops fire 152 mm D-20 howitzer
Battle of the Marshes Iran front 1983 rest after exchange of fire 152 mm D-20 H
Operation Earnest Will: Tanker convoy No. 12 under US Navy escort (21 October 1987)
A map indicating the attacks on civilian areas of Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait targeted during the "War of the Cities".
Iraqi commanders discussing strategy on the battlefront (1986)
Iranian President Ali Khamenei on the battlefront during the Iran–Iraq War
Operation Dawn 8 during which Iran captured the Faw Peninsula.
Iranian soldier killed during the Iran–Iraq War with Rouhollah Khomeini's photo on his uniform
The People's Mujahedin of Iran, supported by Saddam, started a ten-day operation after both the Iranian and Iraqi governments accepted UN Resolution 598. Casualty estimates range from 2,000 to 10,000.
Adnan Khairallah, Iraqi Defense Minister, meeting with Iraqi soldiers during the war
IRGC navy speedboats using swarm tactics
An Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask during the Iran–Iraq War.
The Iranian frigate IS Sahand burns after being hit by 20 U.S. air launched missiles and bombs, killing a third of the crew, April 1988
Iranian soldiers captured during Iraq's 1988 offensives
USS Vincennes in 1987 a year before it shot down Iran Air Flight 655
MEK Soldiers killed in Operation Mersad in 1988
Al-Shaheed Monument in Baghdad was erected to commemorate the fallen Iraqi soldiers during the war.
Iranian Martyr Cemetery in Isfahan
Iranian Martyrs Museum in Tehran
An Iranian soldier's funeral in Mashhad, 2013
An Iraqi Mil Mi-24 on display at the military museum of Sa'dabad Palace in Iran
President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush work in the Oval Office of the White House, 20 July 1984.
USS Stark (FFG-31) listing following two hits by Exocet missiles.
Victims of the 1987 chemical attack on Sardasht, West Azerbaijan, Iran
Damage to a mosque in Khoramshahr, Iran, the city that was invaded by Iraq in September 1980

Protracted armed conflict that began on 22 September 1980 with a full-scale invasion of Iran by neighbouring Iraq.

- Iran–Iraq War
Top-left to bottom-right: Iranian child soldier on the frontlines

Iranian soldier in a trench wearing a gas mask to guard against Iraqi chemical attacks

Port quarter view of the USS Stark listing to port after being mistakenly struck by an Iraqi warplane

Pro-Iraq MEK forces killed during Iran's Operation Mersad

Iraqi prisoners of war after the recapture of Khorramshahr by Iranian forces

ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun being used by the Iranian Army

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Overall

A Chieftain Mark 11 at the Bovington Tank Museum (2013)

Chieftain (tank)

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The main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s-1990s.

The main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s-1990s.

A Chieftain Mark 11 at the Bovington Tank Museum (2013)
Chieftain display at the Bovington tank museum, 2006
A Leyland L60 engine pack displayed at the Bovington tank museum. The complete unit could be removed by the crane of the FV434.
Detail of the 120 mm L11A5 rifled gun
Chieftain tanks of 14th/20th King's Hussars on parade with urban camouflage, Straße des 17. Juni, West Berlin, 18 June 1989.
A former Iranian Army Chieftain Mk.5 main battle tank on display at the Kubinka Tank Museum
Khalid variant
ARRV
An AVRE carrying fascine and towing Python on Salisbury Plain.
A map of Chieftain operators in blue with former operators in red

First, it was used extensively by Iran during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–88, including the largest tank battle of the war, with mixed results as the Chieftain Mk 3/5 suffered from chronic engine problems and low power-to-weight ratio, making it unreliable and slow when manoeuvering over harsh terrain, which in turn made it prone to breakdowns in the midst of battle or a sluggish target and thus vulnerable to enemy tank fire.

Banisadr in 1980

Abolhassan Banisadr

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Iranian politician, writer, and political dissident.

Iranian politician, writer, and political dissident.

Banisadr in 1980
Banisadr (left) inaugurated as first President of Iran in 1980. Mohammad Beheshti is on the right and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at his back.
Banisadr in 2010

During the Iran–Iraq War, Banisadr was appointed acting commander-in-chief by Khomeini on 10 June 1981.

Arab world

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The Arab world (العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland (الوطن العربي '), also known as the Arab nation (الأمة العربية '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states''', consists of the 22 Arab countries which are members of the Arab League.

The Arab world (العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland (الوطن العربي '), also known as the Arab nation (الأمة العربية '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states''', consists of the 22 Arab countries which are members of the Arab League.

Salah Zulfikar and Faten Hamama in the premiere of Bain Al-Atlal ("Among the Ruins") in Cairo, 1959
The Great Mosque of Kairouan (also called the Mosque of Uqba) was founded in 670 by the Arab general and conqueror Uqba ibn Nafi. The Great Mosque of Kairouan is located in the historic city of Kairouan in Tunisia.
The Maghreb (Western Arab world)
Abbasid caliphate (750 – 1258 CE)

The Iran–Iraq War (also known as the First Gulf War and by various other names) was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the second longest conventional war of the 20th century.

Approximate map of the Kurdish-populated region of Iraq

Iraqi Kurdistan

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Iraqi Kurdistan or Southern Kurdistan (باشووری کوردستان) refers to the Kurdish-populated part of northern Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdistan or Southern Kurdistan (باشووری کوردستان) refers to the Kurdish-populated part of northern Iraq.

Approximate map of the Kurdish-populated region of Iraq
Erbil, capital of Kurdistan Region
Lake Dukan
Greater Zab River near Erbil
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Shanidar Cave is surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation.
Ottoman vilayets of Van and Mossoul, 1899. Modern Iraqi Kurdistan is covered by the Mosul vilayet (green), which is divided into the sanjaks of Mossoul (Mosul), Kerkouk (Kirkuk and Erbil), and Souleimanié (Sulaymaniyah). To the east is Persia and south is the vilayet of Bagdad.
Ethnographical Map of the contested territory, compiled by the Commission according to the latest statistics drawn up by the Government of Iraq (1922–1924), League of Nations. Green shows the Kurdish population in the region, while yellow is used for Arabs and purple for Yazidis
Kurdish Independent Kingdoms and Autonomous Principalities circa 1835
Mahmud Barzanji was the leader of a series of Kurdish uprisings against the British Mandate of Iraq.
Kingdom of Kurdistan in 1923
The Barzani revolt, June 1932
Mustafa Barzani with Abd al-Karim Qasim
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Graves of the Halabja chemical attack victims
Kurdish Federation in 1998
Disputed areas in Iraq prior to the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Pro-independence rally in Erbil in September 2017

During the Iran–Iraq War, the Iraqi government again implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out.

A Mi-24W of the Polish Land Forces

Mil Mi-24

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Large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers.

Large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers.

A Mi-24W of the Polish Land Forces
Mil Mi-24A
Russian Air Force Mil Mi-24P
Russian Air Force Mi-35М
Mi-24D cockpit
Mi-35M with the OPS-24N survey and sighting system together with the gyrostabilized OLS GOES-324
U.S. operated Mi-24P Hind-F
Mi-24 SuperHind, a modernized Hind by the South African firm ATE. At the Ysterplaat Airshow 2006.
Front view of a Soviet Mi-24 HIND E ground-attack helicopter
Soviet "Helicopter-tank" operation in Afghanistan
Mil Mi-24/25
Mi-24 during "Centre 2019" exercise
Two Mil Mi-35 Hind helicopters during a training sortie over southern Afghanistan, 4 October 2009. U.S. Airmen with the 438th Air Expeditionary Training Group.
An Iraqi Mil Mi-25, brought down during the Iran–Iraq War, on display at a military museum in Tehran.
An Iraqi Mi-25 Hind-D, captured during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Macedonian Mi-24V
An Afghan Air Force Mi-35 over Kandahar, 2009
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Brazilian Air Force Mi-35M
A Bulgarian Air Force Mi-24 in flight
A Czech Air Force Mi-24
Georgian Air Force Mi-24
Hungarian Mi-24
Indonesian Army Mi-35P
Peruvian Air Force Mi-25D
A Russian Air Force Mil Mi-35P
Serbian Mil Mi-35M during Sadejstvo 2020 military exercise
A Ukrainian Mi-24
Vietnam People's Air Force Mi-24
Orthographic projection of the Mil Mi-24.
Cabin door to the rear troop-utility compartment
Possible armament configuration on Mi-24W
Yakushev-Borzov YakB-12.7 machine gun

The Mi-25 saw considerable use by the Iraqi Army during the long war against Iran.

Overview of the wreckage at the
Desert One base in Iran

Operation Eagle Claw

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Failed operation by the United States Armed Forces ordered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter to attempt the rescue of 52 embassy staff held captive at the Embassy of the United States, Tehran on 24 April 1980.

Failed operation by the United States Armed Forces ordered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter to attempt the rescue of 52 embassy staff held captive at the Embassy of the United States, Tehran on 24 April 1980.

Overview of the wreckage at the
Desert One base in Iran
A pair of RH-53Ds aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
Planned and actual routes for Operation Eagle Claw
A-7Es aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) with special identification stripes added specifically for Operation Eagle Claw
Repainted Bluebeard RH-53D helicopters in sand camouflage and without markings aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
Plan sketch of Desert One
Wreckage of one of the destroyed Bluebeard helicopters with an abandoned RH-53D behind
Example of a haboob, one of the factors that influenced the outcome of the operation
RH-53D helicopter rotor remnant from Operation Eagle Claw on display in the former US Embassy in Tehran
Operation Eagle Claw Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery
Commemoration for Delta Team casualties at Gunter Annex, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

Carter, who wrote in his diary on 10 April that "The Iranian terrorists are making all kinds of crazy threats to kill the American hostages if they are invaded by Iraq—whom they identify as an American puppet," may have been influenced by such reports to approve a rescue mission prior to the outbreak of a possible Iran–Iraq War.

Operation Tariq al-Qods

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Operation Tariq al-Qods (, meaning "the way to Qods") was an operation in the Iran–Iraq War launched by Iran to free Bostan.

The Osirak reactor prior to the Israeli attack

Operation Opera

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Surprise airstrike conducted by the Israeli Air Force on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor located 17 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

Surprise airstrike conducted by the Israeli Air Force on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor located 17 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

The Osirak reactor prior to the Israeli attack
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel and in charge of the operation, disembarks from an aircraft upon his arrival in the United States, accompanied by Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.
Scheme of operation
Israeli Air Force F-16A Netz 243, flown by Colonel Ilan Ramon in Operation Opera.
Nose of F-16A 243 showing the triangular mission marking for the attack, a nuclear reactor silhouette against the Iraqi Air Force emblem.
IAF F-16A Netz 107 with Osirak bombing mark.
Osirak reactor site in the aftermath of the attack

Iran attacked and damaged the site on 30 September 1980, with two F-4 Phantoms, shortly after the outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War.

The Iranian frigate attacked by aircraft of U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing 11 after the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) struck an Iranian mine

Operation Praying Mantis

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The Iranian frigate attacked by aircraft of U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing 11 after the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) struck an Iranian mine
Combat Patch of Operation Praying Mantis
The Iranian frigate Sahand burning from bow to stern on 18 April 1988 after being attacked.
Samuel B. Roberts is carried away aboard after hitting a mine in the Persian Gulf.

Operation Praying Mantis was an attack on 18 April 1988, by the United States Armed Forces within Iranian territorial waters in retaliation for the Iranian naval mining of the Persian Gulf during the Iran–Iraq War and the subsequent damage to an American warship.

Pallets of 155 mm artillery shells containing "HD" (distilled mustard gas agent) at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The distinctive color-coding scheme on each shell is visible

Mustard gas

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Chemical compound belonging to a family of cytotoxic and blister agents known as mustard agents.

Chemical compound belonging to a family of cytotoxic and blister agents known as mustard agents.

Pallets of 155 mm artillery shells containing "HD" (distilled mustard gas agent) at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The distinctive color-coding scheme on each shell is visible
US Army World War II gas identification poster, c. 1941–1945
Mustard gas test subjects enter gas chamber, Edgewood Arsenal, March 1945
Arms of four test subjects after exposure to nitrogen mustard and lewisite agents.

As a chemical weapon, mustard gas was first used in World War I, and has been used in several armed conflicts since then, including the Iran–Iraq War, resulting in more than 100,000 casualties.