During the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88), the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran were composed of three forces: the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (IRI Army), the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) and the Basij.
Iran–Iraq war (1980–88)
On 17 September 1980, Saddam Hussein announced that he was ending the treaty with Iran which had been signed in 1975. Five days later, Iraqi armed forces began a land and air offensive against Iran. Many observers believe that Saddam Hussein's decision to invade Iran was a personal miscalculation based on ambition. He feared that Iran's new revolutionary leadership would threaten Iraq's delicate Sunni–Shia balance and exploit Iraq's geostrategic vulnerabilities, such as Iraq's minimal access to the Persian Gulf.
As the war continued, it became increasingly bloody as mass attacks by Iranian infantry were driven back, at high cost to both sides. In May 1982, Iran held the advantage thanks to a massive offensive when its forces drove Iraqi forces back to the border. Another series of offensives in 1984 allowed the Iranians to cross the border into Kurdistan and move towards the Tigris river. The Iranians finally seized Majnoon Island in southern Iraq, a center for oil production in this marshy region which was notoriously difficult to move troops into.
During this phase of the war, the Iraqis used poison gas to repel Iranian attacks. Mustard and nerve gases were used, demonstrating Iraqi ability to manufacture and deploy such weapons. The Iran-Iraq war is noted for Iraq's use of chemical and biological weapons against Iranian troops and civilians, many of which were supplied by the United States.
The Iran–Iraq war lasted for nearly eight years and included religious schisms, border disputes and political differences. It strained the political and social life of both countries, led to severe economic dislocation and altered the course of Iraqi and Iranian history.
At the beginning of the war, the commander-in-chief was Abolhassan Banisadr. On 9 June 1981 he was replaced by Ruhollah Khomeini, who remained in the post for the rest of the war. The president of Iran during the early part of the war was Mohammad-Ali Rajai, who was killed in August 1981. His replacement for the remainder of the war was Ali Khamenei. Rajai's prime minister was Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, and Khamanei's prime minister was Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
During the war, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army was under the command of the Ministry of Defense. The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, also known as Sepah, was commanded by the Ministry of Sepah. The Basij, a paramilitary volunteer militia, played an important part in the war.
Ministers of Defense
Ministers of Defense before and during the Iran-Iraq war included:
- Ahmad Madani (1978–1979)
- Mostafa Chamran (1979–1981)
- Javad Fakori (1981)
- Mousa Namjoo (1981)
- Mohammad Salimi (1981–1985)
- Mohammad Hosein Jalali (1985–1989)
Ministry of Sepah
Islamic Republic of Iran Army (IRI Army)
The Islamic Republic of Iran Army was divided into four forces:
Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC)
The Basij Corps had a ground force only.
Commanders[Clarification needed] of armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iran-Iraq war
|Armed Forces||Force Type||Name||Highest Rank||Lifetime||Description|
|Valiollah Fallahi||Major General||1931-1981||Valiollah Fallahi was a military officer and prominent figure during the Iran–Iraq war. Fallahi was commander-in-chief of ground force of I.R.I. Army. Until June 1980 he was the commander of joint staff.
On 29 September 1981 he died with several top commanders including Javad Fakouri, Yusof Kolahdouz, Seyed Mousa Namjoo and Commander Jahanara in a plane crash that was due to land in Tehran after take off from Ahvaz.
|Qasem-Ali Zahirnejad||Major General||1924-1999||Zahirnejad was a Major General in the Army of Iran after the 1978 revolution. After the 1978 revolution, he returned to the army at the beginning of the unrest in Kurdistan Province and in 1979 as commander of 64 brigade of Urmia.
He was commander-in-chief of ground force of I.R.I. Army and then served as commander of joint staff during in Iran-Iraq war. He would go on to fight in the siege of Abadan and liberation of Khorramshahr.
|Ali Sayad Shirazi||Lieutenant General||1944-1999||Ali Sayad Shirazi was chief-of-staff of the Iranian Armed Forces during the Iran–Iraq war. During the Iran–Iraq War Sayad Shirazi became one of the most important generals of Iran. In 1981, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini appointed him commander of the ground forces of the Iranian Army. Prior to that, he had a central role in suppressing the armed rebellion in Kordestan province in 1979.
In 1982, he led the Iranian Pasdaran and Basij soldiers to victory in the Iranian Operation Undeniable Victory, this was the first time Iran was able to defeat Iraq in a major battle, Iran broke through Iraq's "impenetrable" defense lines and expelled them from the Dezful-Shush area, this operation is considered by many as the turning point in the war. In 1986, he was named member of the Supreme Defense Council. However, three weeks after this appointment Shirazi was relieved of his post as commander of the ground forces.
In 1988, the People's Mujahedin of Iran with help of Saddam Hussein attacked West-Iran and battled Iranian forces for Kermanshah. Iran smashed them with their counter offensive: Operation Mersad, which was led by Shirazi. He also led other successful military operations against Iraq, such as, Operation Zafar 7; and Operation Nasr-4. In 1989, Shirazi was awarded the highest military distinction in the Iranian armed forces, the Fath (Conquest) medal. He was assassinated in 1999 by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
|Hosein Hasani Saadi||Major General||
|Mousa Namjoo||Major General||1938-1981||Mousa Namjoo was an Iranian military officer who served as the defense minister of Iran and armed forces logistics in the interim government of Iran. He graduated from Imam Ali Military University. He worked at the National Military Academy with the rank of colonel. He was instrumental in developing a cooperation between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and army before and during the Iran Iraq war. He also fought in the war. Namjoo was killed in a plane crash together with 80 other people on 29 September 1981 near Tehran. The aircraft was a US-made C-130 Hercules transport plane. Other leading military figures killed in the crash were Valiollah Fallahi, Javad Fahouri and Mohson Kolahdoz.|
|Yousef Kolahdouz||Major General||1946-1981||Yousef Kolahdouz was deputy Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and had critical role in developing a cooperation between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and army before and during the Iran Iraq war. He was a lonely man, maybe because he was both an army man and an artist. Admitting the fact that he knew art well was hard especially for artists who always saw him as an army man. Fellow army men, too, could not understand why he watched so many films and liked painting. He was not a uni dimensional person. He had frequently told his wife that he would study cinema in university if he had the time.”
Kolahdouz was one of the commanders who killed in the same plan crash as commanders Namjoo, Fallahi, Fakouri and Jahanara. “Tik-Tak of Life” was published about Yousef Kolahdouz life and it has 80 pages and has multimedia software.
|Hasan Aghareb Parast||Major General||1946-1984|
|Hasan Abshenasan||Major General||1936-1985||
|Masod Monfared Niaki||Major General||1929-1985|
|Ali Shahbazi||Major General||
|Ataollah Salehi||Major General||1950-||Major General Ataollah Salehi is the current commander-in-chief of the Iranian Army since 2005.
|Esmail Sohrabi||Major General|
|Mohammad Salimi||Major General||1937-||Mohammad Salimiis the former commander-in-chief of the Iranian Army and defense minister. Salimi was the defense minister in the cabinet of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, replacing Javad Fakoori.|
|Javad Fakoori||Major General||1939-1981||
Fakoori was commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force at the rank of colonel. Fakoori was the commander of the IRIAF during the Iran–Iraq War. He also served as Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics from Spring 1981 to September 1981.
|Mohammad Hosein Moenpour||Brigadier General|
|Hoshang Sedigh||Brigadier General||
|Abbas Babaei||Major General||1950-1987||
Abbas Babaei was an Iranian pilot and Brigadier General in the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, during the Iran-Iraq War. After returning to Iran following flight training, he became a pilot of Northrop F-5 and trained on the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Babaei was one of the pilots who had the highest hours (3000 hours) of flights in the Iran-Iraq war with flight plane. He had 60 successful mission from 1986 to 1987.
|Abbas Doran||Major General||1950-1982||
|Mansour Sattari||Major General||1946-1995||
He implemented many innovative plans to improve radar and counterattack systems, which proved helpful in disabling offensive capacities of the Iraqi Air Force during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1983 Mansour sattari was appointed as Deputy Operations Officer for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force counterattack headquarters, and in 1985, as the Deputy Planning Officer of IRIAF. In 1986, after reaching the rank of Colonel, he was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force.
|Hosein Khalatbari||Major General||1950-1986|
|Mahmod Khazraii||Major General||1948-1986|
|Ali Akbar Shiroodi||Brigadier General||1955-1981||Ali Akbar Shiroodi was one of the pilots who had the highest number of flights in the world. Ali Akbar Shiroodi, according to air-war experts, was one of the most prominent helicopter pilots in the world. They consider him a stylist pilot in flights and air combats, in a way that when attaching the enemy he would dive obliquely and maneuver like a jet plane. Also he had the highest number of flights in the world. He was injured 40 times and 300 times shelled. He defended the Iranian territories during the initial years of Iran-Iraq war. Valiollah Fallahi called him “the West Star” (here, West refers to Kurdistan Province) and referred to him as "the savior of western Iran and Aria mountain pass, Bazi Deraz, Meimak, and Zahab plain.|
|Ahmad Keshvari||Brigadier General||1953-1980||Ahmad Keshvari was a professional and tactician Cobra pilot in Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation (IRIAA) and had a considerable role in the early months of Iran-Iraq War to stop Iraqi tanks from further advancing into the Iranian territory.
On December 1980 at the age of 27 while returned from successful operation, the Iraqi Mikoyan aircraft attacked him. While his helicopter was burning by rocket shots, he flew it to Iran's and then fell down in Ilam Province.
|Hamidreza Soheilian||Major General||1955-1981||Soheilian was a professional and tactician Cobra pilot in IRIAA (Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation) and had a considerable role in the early months of Iran-Iraq War. according to air-war experts, he was one of the most prominent helicopter pilots in the Iran. Ali Akbar Shiroodi said abouh him: he had stylist pilot in flights and air combats.|
|Bahram Afzali||Commodore||1937-1984||A few months prior to the breakout of war between Iran and Iraq in 1980, he was selected as the commander-in-chief of the navy (1980 to 1983). During the war, together with the Iranian Air force, he was instrumental in the destruction of the Iraqi navy (Operation Morvarid), paralysing Iraqi naval activities in the Persian Golf for the remainder of the war. He had critical role in siege of Abadan and liberation of Khorramshahr.
In the early 1980s, for the first time in Iranian military history, he established the Iranian Naval University in Noushahr, a city in the north of the country. Prior to this, all naval officers in Iran had to study abroad for their naval education.
|Esfandiar Hoseini||Captain||He was selected as the commander-in-chief of the navy (1983 to 1985).|
|Mohammad Hosein Malekzadegan||Captain||1944-||Malekzadegan was selected as the commander-in-chief of the navy (1988 to 1989). He design Operation Zolfaghar and commanded it in Iran- Iraq war.|
|Mohsen Rezaee||Major General||1954||Mohsen Rezaee Mirgha'ed, also spelled Rezai is an Iranian politician, economist, former sepah commander, and secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the first commander-in-chief of IRGC and was commanded Sepah during Iran-Iraq war. He actively participated in the Iran-Iraq war.|
|Yahya Rahim Safavi||Major General||1958||Yahya Rahim Safavi is an Iranian military commander who served as the chief commander of the Sepah from 1 September 1997 until 1 September 2007. In Iran-Iraq war, he was commander-in-chief of ground force of Sepah (1985 to 1989).|
|Hasan Bagheri||Major General||1956-1983||Bagheri had important roles in Iran-Iraq war, including:
|Mohammad Boroujerdi||Major General||1955-1983||Boroujerdi was one of the founders of IRGC and a commander in Iran-Iraq War. He played key roles in regaining control over the territories of Kurdistan by Iranian forces. He helped breaking the siege of Sanandaj garrison occupied by communist guerrillas and federalist parties, including: KDPI, Fedai Guerrillas and Peykar. He put forward the establishment of "Muslim Peshmerga of Kurdistan" and served as its originator and commander. Boroujerdi was also the commander of AGIR in Kurdistan, and played important roles in regaining Sardasht, Baneh and Piranshahr from KDPI.
As one of the commanders, he averted the fall of "Sar Pol-e Zahab", engineered by Saddam's army in October 1980. Although Boroujerdi served mostly in the west of Iran, but he was also involved in some military campaigns in the south; including Operation Tarigh ol-Qods for regaining Bostan and Operation Fath-ol-Mobeen. After the partitioning of AGIR, he was appointed as the commander of its seventh zone; which included Hamedan, Kermanshah, Kurdistan and Ilam provinces. He was also the deputy of "Hamzeh Seyedo-Shohaha" headquarter.
|Hossein Kharrazi||Major General||1957-1986||Hosein Kharrazi was an Iranian commander of "Imam Hosein 14th Division" during Iran-Iraq War. He was engaged in many operations during the war, especially Dawn 8 in which he captured troops of Iraqi Republican Guard|Saddam Republican Guard in Al-Faw Peninsula; and in Operation Karbala-5 as the commander of the vanguard forces. Kharrazi was killed by shrapnel from a mortar bomb in Operation Karbala-5. His troops participated in the following operations:|
|Muhammad Ebrahim Hemmat||Major General||1955-1984||In Iran-Iraq War, Muhammad was commander of "Muhammad Rasoul-Allah Division". His troops participated in the following operations:|
|Ahmad Kazemi||Major General||1958-2006||Ahmad Kazemi was an Iranian commander of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and one of the main fighters in Iran–Iraq War. After the victory of the Revolution and establishment of Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah) in 1980, He joined the Sepah and went to Kurdistan in 1981 to suppress the domestic enemies of the revolution. After the Iran–Iraq War began, he joined the war with a 50-member group in Abadan fronts and began fighting with Iraq. At the end of the war, the 50-member group became a powerful and important division of Sepah.
He was appointed as Commander of Ground Forces of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution on 1 June 2005 by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He was one of the military advisors to Presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
|Mahdi Zein-eddin||Major General||1959-1984||After the victory of Islamic Revolution, he served the country in various fields, including Jahad-e-Sazandegi and chief of staff of information Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution in Qhom. In Iran-Iraq War, Mahdi was commander of Ali-Ebn-Abitaleb Division. He and his brother killed during operation that went Kermanshah Province to Sardasht while he was less than 30.|
|Mehdi Bakeri||Major General||1954-1985||He was graduated in Mechanical Engineering from University of Tabriz.Via start of the Iran-Iraq war he joined to the Sepah and became the commander of the Ashoura Corps, unit 31, which was belonged to the Sepah's Iranian Azerbaijan provinces branch.|
|Mohammad Jahanara||Major General||1954-1981||After the victory of the Iranian Revolution and establishment of AGIR (Sepah) in 1980, He was selected as commander of Khoramshahr Sepah and established the Jahad Sazandegi in Khoramshahr. The Battle of Khorramshahr was a major engagement between Iraq and Iran in the Iran-Iraq War. The battle started from September 22 until November 10, 1980. Known for its brutality and violent conditions, the city came to be known by the Iranians as Khuninshahr, meaning "City of Blood". The Pasdaran commander, Mohammed Jahanara, was one of the last few soldiers to leave Khorramshahr when it fell to the Iraqis. He would go on to fight in the Siege of Abadan and lead Iranian forces to liberate Khorramshahr. He died before the city was liberated on May 24. A song was later written in his commemoration, saying, "Mamad, you're not here to see that our town is free.|
|Mahmoud Kaveh||Major General||1961-1986||Kaveh was joined to Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution in 1981 and was one of the youngest commanders during Iran–Iraq war.
Responsibilities of Kaveh was include:
|Mousa Rafan||He was engineer and wasn't military||The Air Force of Sepah established in 1985. The first commander-in-chief of Air Force was Musa Rafan (1985-1989).|
|Hosein Alaii||Commodore||Alaii was the first commander-in-chief of Navy Force in 1985. He commanded Persian Gulf war during Iran-Iraq war.|
Other commanders who had a critical role in the Iran-Iraq war inlcude:
- Ali Shamkhani
- Hamid Bakeri
- Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
- Davud Karimi
- Ahmad Motevaselian
- Bijan Assem
- Habibollah Abuammar
- Hasan Aqasizadeh Sherbaf
- Hasan Haqnegahdar
- Hosein Basir
- Hoseinali Mehrzadi
- Reza Dastvareh
- Mohsen Safavi
- Hasan Shafizadeh
- Ali Tajalaei
- Ali Rezaeian
- Gholam-Reza Azadi
- Gholam-Reza Salehi
- Mohsen Dinshoari
- Mohsen Vezvaei
- Mohammad Baseri
- Mohammad Khaybi
- Mohammad Reza Aqiqi
- Morteza Yaqchian
- Mostafa Ardestani
- Mostafa Radanipour
- Naser Kazemi
- Abdolhosein brunsi
- Ali Hashemi
- Mahdi Alam-alhoda
- Mojtaba Alamdar
- Alireza Movahed danesh
- Hosein Alam-alhoda
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