In today’s podcast episode Islamic Republic of Iran – History of Iran and the Next War Part 4 I talked a lot about the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. One of the features of this brutal conflict was the massive human and civilian cost, including Iran’s child soldiers that the Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran’s leaders used at that time. Children were used to clear minefields or in the “human wave” strategy of attack where hordes of bodies were more or less just thrown at superior Iraqi artillery in an effort to overcome them.
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The Iran-Iraq War began with the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980.

The minimum fighting age on the Iranian side of the conflict was age 16. Children much younger than this, even to age 12 were frequently among the Iranian dead in the fighting.

The Ayatollah Khomeini gave them “keys to paradise” if they died as his martyrs in the war.

As many as 100,000 Iranian children died in the fighting during the course of the Iran-Iraq War.

Here are some images and links that talk more about that aspect of the war.

iran's child soldiers

Iran-Iraq Still Missing Since 1980-88 War


iran's child soldiers

essential guide history of iran

iran's child soldiers

The Lost Youth of Iran’s Child Soldiers


iran's child soldiers

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This podcast series on the History of Iran and the Next War is now available exclusively to my Patreon subscribers. You can download the first episode in the series for free here.

You might also enjoy my Essential Guide to Understanding Modern Iran which you can read for free here.

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JB Shreve is the author of "How the World Ends: Understanding the Growing Chaos." He has been the host of the End of History podcast since 2012. He has degrees in International Relations and Middle East Studies. His other books include the Intelligence Brief Series. Regular posts and updates from JB Shreve are available at