Iran-Iraq War 1980-1990

[ 1980 - 1988 ]

Iran-Iraq War (1980-90), prolonged military conflict between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. The war began on Sept. 22, 1980, when Iraqi armed forces invaded western Iran along the countries' joint border.

The roots of the war lay in a number of territorial and political disputes between Iraq and Iran. Iraq wanted to seize control of the rich oil-producing Iranian border province of Khuzestan. Iraqi president Saddam Hussein wanted to reassert his country's sovereignty over both banks of the Shatt al-'Arab, a river formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that was historically the border between the two countries. Hussein was also concerned over attempts by Iran's new Islamic revolutionary government to incite rebellion among Iraq's Shi'ite majority. He decided on a preemptive strike against Iran. By attacking when it did, Iraq took advantage of the apparent disorder of Iran's new government and of the demoralization of Iran's regular armed forces.

In September 1980 the Iraqi army carefully advanced along a broad front into Khuzestan province, taking Iran by surprise. Iraq's troops captured the city of Khorramshahr but failed to take the important oil-refining centre of Abadan, and by December 1980 the Iraqi offensive had bogged down about 50-75 miles (80-120 km) inside Iran after meeting unexpectedly strong Iranian resistance. Iran's counterattacks using the revolutionary militia (Revolutionary Guards) to bolster its regular armed forces began to compel the Iraqis to give ground in 1981. The Iranians first pushed the Iraqis back across Iran's Karun River and then recaptured Khorramshahr in 1982. Later that year Iraq voluntarily withdrew its forces from all captured Iranian territory and began seeking a peace agreement with Iran. But under the leadership of Ruhollah Khomeini, who bore a strong personal animosity toward President Hussein, Iran remained intransigent and continued the war in an effort to overthrow Hussein. Iraq's defenses solidified once its troops were defending their own soil, and the war settled down into a stalemate with a static, entrenched front running just inside and along Iraq's border. Iran repeatedly launched fruitless infantry attacks, using human assault waves composed partly of untrained conscripts, which were repelled by the superior firepower and air power of the Iraqis. Both nations engaged in sporadic air and missile attacks against each other's cities and military and oil installations. They also attacked each other's oil-tanker shipping in the Persian Gulf, and Iran's attacks on Kuwait's and other Gulf states' tankers prompted the United States and several western European nations to station warships in the Persian Gulf to protect those tankers.

The oil-exporting capacity of both nations was severely reduced at various times owing to air strikes and to pipeline shutoffs, and the consequent reduction in their income and foreign-currency earnings brought the countries' massive economic-development programs to a near standstill. Iraq's war effort was openly financed by Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states and was tacitly supported by the United States and the Soviet Union, while Iran's only major allies were Syria and Libya. Iraq continued to sue for peace in the mid-1980s, but its international reputation was damaged by reports that it had made use of lethal chemical weapons against Iranian troops. In the mid-1980s the military stalemate continued, but in August 1988 Iran's deteriorating economy and recent Iraqi gains on the battlefield compelled Iran to accept a United Nations-mediated cease-fire that it had previously resisted.

In August-September 1990, while Iraq was preoccupied with its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq and Iran restored diplomatic relations, and Iraq agreed to Iranian terms for the settlement of the war: the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from occupied Iranian territory, division of sovereignty over the Shatt al-'Arab waterway, and a prisoner-of-war exchange.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Iran</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1980</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1990</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">500000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">43000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">400000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Iraq</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1980</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1990</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">520000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">13000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">100000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 500000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 500000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Iran and Iraq 1980 1990 View
Weapon Name Weapon Class Weapon Class Type
EE-11 Urutu Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
EE-9 Cascavel Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
T-72 Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
BMP-2 Vehicle Infantry Combat Vehicle
M113 Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
BTR-60 Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Chieftain tank Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
FV101 Scorpion Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M4 Sherman Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M47 Patton Vehicle Armoured Fighting Vehicle
M60 Patton Vehicle Self-Propelled artillery
ZSU-23-4 Vehicle Self-Propelled artillery
G5 howitzer Vehicle Towed Artillery
GC-45 howitzer Vehicle Towed Artillery
AZP S-60 Vehicle Towed Artillery
M40 recoilless rifle Manportable Rifles
U-5TS Vehicle Towed Artillery
9M14 Malyutka Missile Air to Surface
Kh-58 Missile Air to Surface
FB PM-63 Manportable Machine Guns
RPD Manportable Machine Guns
PK machine gun Manportable Machine Guns
Tabuk Sniper Rifle Manportable Rifles
Mauser Karabiner 98k Manportable Rifles
Type 69 RPG Manportable Rocket Launcher

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts