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