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Index / Political / Modern Wars /
Iran-Iraq War



Iran-Iraq War: The Iraqi front.
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The Iraqi front.

Iran-Iraq War: Iranian soldiers.
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Iranian soldiers.

Iraqi general uniforms.
ID papers of killed Iraqi soldiers and civilians.

Names of killed Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
Iraqi prisoners of war captured by Iran.

Special envoy Donald Rumsfeld shakes hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983, the US supporting the Iraqi side of the war.
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Special envoy Donald Rumsfeld shakes hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983, the US supporting the Iraqi side of the war.

Iranian protesters demonstrate in Teheran streets against what they consider Iraqi aggression.
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Iranian protesters demonstrate in Teheran streets against what they consider Iraqi aggression.

Monument in Baghdad celebrating the alleged victory over Iran.
Martyrs' monument in Baghdad, Iraq.

War between Iran and Iraq, lasting from 1980 to 1988.
The background for the war was disagreement about the border between the two countries, stemming back to 1971, when Iran occupied a couple of Iraqi islands in the Persian Gulf near the outlet at Shatt al-Arab. Iraq was also objecting to the Islamist propaganda that was transmitted from Iran to Iraq, and Iraq's government feared that there might be a revolution among the Iraqi Shi'is in the south. In 1980 Iraq expected that Iran was weak after the Iranian Revolution, so that Iraq would face little resistance when occupying Iranian territory.
The war produced no advantage for either side during most of the 8 years. However, it resulted in heavy losses on both sides with 600,000 Iranian and 400,000 Iraqis dead, and an estimated total economic loss of 1,2 billion US$. It also brought Saddam Hussein's ambitious plans for developing Iraq to a halt.
During the war, Iraq enlarged its military forces from 250,000 to 1,250,000, and accomodated the infrastructure of the country to the needs of the military. To a large degree, this established the precondition for the next war: the invasion of Kuwait and the military response from the international forces.

History
1975: Settlement on frontiers between Iran and Iraq that involved increased territory for Iran compared to the borders prior to 1971.
1980 September 22: Iraq invades Iran, and has early victories.
1982: Iraq is driven out of Iran.
1982-87: The war enters a phase in which Iranian soldiers try to invade Iraq, while Iraqi aircraft bombs Iranian cities and oil installations. Both nations started attacking each other's oil tankers on the Persian Gulf, in reciprocal retaliation. Few territorial advances are made on either side.
1987 July 20: Iran accepts a UN resolution to cease fighting.
1988: Peace is achieved between the two countries, even if the fighting actually ceased months earlier.




By Tore Kjeilen