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Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988)

The IISH has received a collection of documents on the eight years' war between Iraq and Iran (1980-1988). This interesting and rich source is available to researchers and interested parties.

Following a series of political conflicts and border skirmishes between the two neighbouring countries, a war between Iraq and Iran broke out on 22 September 1980, with an attack by Iraq on Iran. According to some analysts, in addition to border conflicts which dated back several decades, the growth of extremist nationalism in the Arab world, especially after the 1958 coup d'état in Iraq, aggravated and intensified the confrontations between Iran and Iraq.

The dimensions of earlier confrontations were increased following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and its influence on the Iraqi Shiites. There were also some changes in the Iran's defense preparedness and an unstable detente after the Islamic Revolution, which encouraged Iraq to attack its neighbour.

When the invasion began, Iraq's main goal was to occupy the province of Khuzestan in Iran. In the beginning the Iraqis boldly advanced into Iran, until they faced the first significant resistance. Finally, in the spring of 1982, Iran was able to block the advance. First it broke the siege of Abadan and after that liberated Khuramshahr from Iraqi control. The Iraqi forces were compelled to retreat, and the advance was stopped.

The eight years of war between Iran and Iraq ended in 1988, without any clear winner, when Iran accepted the UN Security Council's resolution no. 598. This war left hundreds of thousands dead, handicapped (no precise figures have yet been published), and had very substantial financial and economical consequences for both countries.

During the war the Islamic Republic of Iran launched widespread propaganda in various areas. They made available artistic and documentary films, imaginative memoirs, poems, and songs, patriotic melodies, photos of martyrs, books on the war, evocative documentary albums, maps of military activities, and analyses of the eight years of war.

More information is provided below.

CDs on the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988)

The Islamic Republic of Iran has recorded a portion of this propaganda on a collection of CDs. The collection contains materials on Tehran and from many Iranian provinces pertaining to the tenth of Fajer, Ashura, the sacred defence, and the epic of Khuramshahr. This collection shows different aspects of the war. All of these items aim to attract public support and encourage the military. In general, the religious spirit of the war dominates the CDs.

The collection is comprised of 43 categorized and numbered CDs on the following issues: 

  • thousands of documentary photos from the battlefront
  • scores of documentary and artistic films, and plays about the activities of war operations
  • war maps, activities praising the operations
  • scores of hours of noises, melodies, poems, songs
  • scores of wills, life histories, and pictorial memoirs
  • detailed bibliography, arts and cultural celebrations.

See the extensive inventory to this collection.

Posters on the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988)

Because the posters are in language that is effective, popular, and easily understandable by the majority of the people, they have occupied a conspicuous place in the propaganda front of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their contents and purpose are mainly to support "Jihad and Front". Islamic values, religious figures, and Islamic architecture are conspicuous.
This collection comprises 29 posters.
This collection is published by The Foundation of the Islamic Revolution's Martyrs, The Coordination Council for Islamic Publicity, Palestine National Defence Association, Army of the Vanguard of Islamic Revolution, The Organization for Safekeeping and Publishing of Relics and Values of the Black Holy Defence, and The Chief of All Armed Forces.
Call number: BG D55/501-529
View images of these posters

Stamps on the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988)

The Islamic Republic of Iran printed many stamps during the Iran and Iraq War which convincingly show the history and sufferings of war. The stamp collection contains 150 pieces issued by The Organization for Safekeeping and Publishing of Relics and Values of the Black Holy Defence.
Call number: BG T2/547

Photos on the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988)

For the purpose of propaganda and recording war-related issues, The Islamic Republic of Iran has begun making colour photographs of various regions in Iran, and has printed an index of these photos. All indexes are marked as DSCF......JPG, and are numbered in order.
Call number: BG T2/558

Collection Remembrance of the Martyrs

In the area of publicity and propaganda the Islamic Republic of Iran has done a great deal of work on the "culture of martyrdom, keeping alive the names and memory of the martyrs" by publishing special letters from high-ranking republican martyrs under the name of "remembrance of martyrs" (60 X 90). This special letter collection is published in colour and includes the biography, date of martyrdom, and some photos of the martyr, along with short sentences from Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khomenaie, the religious leaders of the Islamic Republic. Brief comments and several poems have also been added to some of the letters. This collection is published by the Foundation of Martyrs of the Islamic Revolution, and some issues have been put out jointly with the Defence Association of the Palestinian Nation. They are comprised of 68 issues.
Call number: BG E26/852-919

Miracle of Hope - photos of disabled persons

The Miracle of Hope is a published collection of photos of disabled persons from the Iran-Iraq War, compiled under the auspices of Mr. Mahdi Mun-em. During this war many innocent people were sacrificed, and many families were saddened and thrown into financial difficulties by their losses. In addition to costing over millions of dollars, the war left hundreds of thousands of people physically and mentally disabled. To publish many aspects about the lives of those who were disabled by the war, the photographer has traveled to all over Iran, and has even stayed with the disabled for a while. The photographer's sharp eye enabled him to take photos of their living situation and amusements, hardships and endeavors, and their work and lives. It is even possible to see some of the hidden psychological traumas and miseries of the war. This collection of 107 photos reflects different aspects of the disabled persons' lives. Numbers 104 to 107 show the disabled World Championship held in the summer of 1990 in the city of Assen (the Netherlands).
Call number: L9/185

Text: N. Kawyani