24 September Iran News

Army general says armed forces ready to defend motherland

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On the occasion of the 21st Anniversary (Sept. 22) of the start of the imposed Iran-Iraq War, Brigadier-General Abbas Nabizadeh, deputy commander of the Iranian Ground Forces, talked in an exclusive interview with Iran News about the activities of the Iranian armed forces before, during and after the war. He said: "In my opinion, the members of the Iranian military played a crucial role in the victory of the Islamic revolution.

If the army had not declared its solidarity and support for the people, the revolution would definitely not have succeeded as quickly as it did. The reason for their feeling unity was because military personnel aren't any different from the rest of the public. Most army, navy and air force personnel had feelings similar to the majority of the public and culturally and ideologically in tune with the majority."

He added that many political forces who were neither patriotic nor revolutionaries favoured doing away with army all together, but Imam Khomeyni put an end to those discussions with his unequivocal support of the military in the spring of 1979. The army successfully went into action right after the revolution in border clashes with anti-revolutionaries, communists, monarchists, etc. and came out victorious. It is notable that Brigadier Nabizadeh was on the front-line of the bloody Iran-Iraq War from the very beginning, when hostilities broke out between the two sides. As soon as the Iraqi aggression got underway on 22 September 1980, the army fought bravely and courageously on two fronts and in a 1200 km wide border. They repelled and slowed down the Iraqi advance to a great extent during the first few days, until our gallant young men of the armed forces put a complete halt on the Iraqi military's march a week into the war. He reminded that the army knew such an invasion was coming.

We had hundreds of border raids by the Iraqis prior to their all out attack on Iran. The number of border clashes if I recall correctly numbered a staggering 653 different instances. The army reported the incidents and the fact that the Iraqi military had amassed an enormous amount of military hardware at or near our common border, to the then commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Abolhasan Banisadr (Former Iranian President). Unfortunately, his reaction was inappropriate and insufficient, at the time.

It is worth mentioning that Iran and Iraq have had border disputes for more than a generation. General Nabizadeh moreover stated that the army began to immediately train and equip the Basij militia and the Revolution Corps (Sepah) and prepare them for battle and defence of the motherland. Basij and Sepah proved indispensable in protecting our territorial integrity during the subsequent years of the war. He said that after conducting the war and defending the nation and its people nobly and magnificently, the military has continued to be alert in keeping its guards up.

The mission of the armed forces was not complete by any means, after the cease fire went into effect in 1988. Iran and Iraq are currently in a state that could be described as neither war nor peace. The prevalent status with Iraq calls for being alert and vigilant at all times and as long as our political leaders deem appropriate. The Iranian armed forces is ready to defend the nation in all of our borders.

Nabizadeh who is a war veteran with over 120 months of service at the front lines emphasized that our military manoeuvres and exercises will go on as scheduled. He added that new military recruits are trained properly and eager to defend the motherland. We are equipped and prepared in every aspect to defend our country from potential threats, both foreign and domestic. In the years following the war the military took concrete steps in self-sufficiency and strengthening our technical capabilities.

The brigadier said that perhaps the most important accomplishment of the army from the war was the self-confidence that we attained in producing military hardware parts and components and gaining the necessary self-confidence toward self-sufficiency. Examples include building robots for clearing minefields and improving Chieftain Tanks by using modern updated technology. He said that over 760,000 hectares of land has been de-mined, leaving another million hectares to be cleared of mines within the next three years. These lands are important to our farmers and the agricultural sector because they are pastureland and lands that could be cultivated. Regrettably, the army has lost over 137 people who have been martyred in de-mining these areas. Over 540 other military personnel have been injured or disabled.

He alluded to the fact that the three best military academies in the nation are Imam Ali (AS) Military Academy, the Strategic Sciences University, the Army Commanders College. He said that indeed these academies are the best in the entire Middle East. We have a very good reputation in the region as far as proper military training. The truth is that countries such as India and Pakistan have sent military officers to our command courses, in order to be trained in military tactics and strategies. Additionally, some regional states have applied to send their air force officers to be trained at our military pilot school. Brigadier General Nabizadeh concluded by stating that these accomplishments are indeed sources of much pride for the Iranian armed forces and the entire nation.

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