Iran’s war with Iraq has taken a devastating toll. There have been several hundred thousand Iranian casualties, including an estimated 180,000 deaths. Property damage amounts to billions of dollars. The conflict has uprooted at least 1.5 million civilians from the war zones and diverted the society’s resources from socio-economic development into military expenditures.

While the human and material costs have been heavy, the effects of the war have not been entirely destructive, at least from the perspective of the current government in Tehran. The war has served as a catalyst, helping the theocratic regime to consolidate its power. The Iranian clergy and their lay allies have used the Iraqi invasion to enlist popular acquiescence towards the new political institutions. At the economic level, the war has had only a limited impact on Iran’s ability to export oil. Consequently, it has not seriously interfered with oil sales revenues. Perhaps the most important factor sustaining Iran’s continued prosecution of the war has been the steady source of income Tehran could use both to pursue the war and to coopt its citizens with various subsidies and incentives.

Resolving Power

When Iraq launched its invasion in the autumn of 1980, the activists of the 1978-1979 popular revolution were preoccupied with resolving the question of who should be the legitimate inheritors of political power. By 1980, five broad ideological orientations were in contention for dominance. The most important grouped together advocates of a theocratic government. They had succeeded in drafting a new republican constitution, approved in a popular referendum in December 1979, that invested ultimate authority in a supreme religious jurist, or faqih.This constitution gave the Shi‘i clergy effective political power. Not all of the clergy supported the concept of clerical political activism, but Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did; his endorsement provided the constitution with an aura of legitimacy. The Islamic Republican Party (IRP) developed into an effective political organization comprising clerics — primarily junior men who were preachers rather than scholars — and lay political activists who envisaged a government guided by Islamic principles as interpreted by men with training in Shi‘i religious law. The leaders of the IRP had acquired experience in mobilizing large crowds for demonstrations during the revolution and utilized their skills to marshal popular support for the new constitution and other IRP policies.

A second ideological current was secularist — those who believed that the clergy should not be involved in government. Advocates of this view included influential ulema such as the Grand Ayatollahs Shariatmadari and Qummi and Ayatollahs Mahallati and Zanjani, and thoroughly secular-minded persons such as Hedayat Matin-Daftari. The secularists were convinced that the revolution had been both necessary and positive but they were apprehensive about the objectives of the IRP. They opposed the new constitution because of its articles relating to the role of the clergy and out of concern that civil liberties and human rights were not adequately guaranteed. The secularists were divided into several political parties, all operating more or less clandestinely by the summer of 1980.

Leftist ideologies represented a third force in post-revolutionary Iran. Marxist ideas had been influential among Iran’s educated youth since the early 1940s. Several political parties which were avowedly Marxist, or consciously borrowed Marxist concepts, openly recruited for new members after the revolution. The oldest of these parties was the Tudeh, originally established in 1941. The Tudeh had decided to work within the new constitutional arrangements because party leaders believed that the clerical leaders, especially those allied with the IRP, were objectively opposed to imperialism and comprador capitalism. The Tudeh’s tolerant attitude toward the evolving theocracy may have been one reason for its inability to inspire widespread popular interest in its programs. A Marxist party with more appeal, at least among the educated youth, was the Fedayin. This party was deeply divided, however, over the issue of whether to cooperate with or to oppose the new clerical government. In June 1980, it had split into a majority faction willing to support the Tudeh position and a minority faction opposed to clerical rule.

None of the Marxist parties attracted the attention of the public, especially the youth, like the Mojahedin-e Khalq. The Mojahedin identified itself as a progressive Islamic party incorporating many Marxist ideas into its own ideology and recognizing Marxism as a progressive force. [1] The Mojahedin was the main organized opposition to the IRP by mid-1980. There had already been violent confrontations between supporters of the two rival parties in numerous cities and towns, and it is likely that the outbreak of the war with Iraq only postponed the bloody showdown between them.

A fourth ideological force, for regional autonomy, was based primarily among Iran’s ethnic minorities — Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds, Qashqhai Turks and Turkomans. Supporters of greater freedom from central government control had been active among all these groups after the revolution. Among the Kurds, especially, who number approximately 2 to 2.5 million and live in the western mountains adjacent to Iraqi and Turkish Kurdish areas, there was widespread resentment of Tehran. Local Kurdish activists had assumed control of their cities and towns in the spring of 1979 and had expelled non-Kurdish government officials. In response, the Provisional Government dispatched the Revolutionary Guards to Kurdistan to suppress the incipient rebellion. Thus the war in Kurdistan was already in its thirteenth month when the war with Iraq broke out. Two Kurdish political parties, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Komeleh, had organized fighting forces to oppose the Revolutionary Guards. In September 1980, the Kurdish fighters controlled most of rural Kurdistan, with the Revolutionary Guards confined to the provincial capital of Sanandaj and a few other towns.

A final ideological trend was monarchist. The popular nature of the revolution, plus the revelations of royal excesses under the shah published almost daily in the press in 1979-1980, had widely discredited the idea of a monarchical restoration. The many formerly powerful Iranians whose only hope lay in a restoration were mostly in exile, and had not succeeded either in organizing support within Iran or in uniting around a single personality or party outside of the country.

Theocratic Rivals

By mid-1980, the proponents of theocracy stood as the most powerful political force in the country, but they did not constitute a cohesive group. Their rivalries began to surface after the first Majles under the new constitution had been elected and set about to choose a government. One key division revolved around alternative conceptions regarding the role of the clergy. Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, elected president of the republic in January 1980, advocated a more indirect political role for the clergy, while the Islamic Republican Party, led by Ayatollah Mohamad Beheshti, wanted clerics to fill important executive positions.

The war both intensified this dispute and served to delay its resolution. Initially, Bani-Sadr tried to use the war to demonstrate the necessity for filling government positions with technocrats rather than untrained clerics. His efforts only solidified the hostility of the IRP leaders; in June 1981, they succeeded in getting the Majles to impeach and remove him from the presidency. Since that time, the IRP has dealt ruthlessly with its opposition and presented itself as the authoritative interpreter of Ayatollah Khomeini’s ideas. Even though Khomeini has never become a formal member of the party, his consistent support of IRP policies has contributed significantly to the party’s perceived legitimacy.

The elimination of Bani-Sadr was relatively easy because he failed to develop any effective political organization to articulate and support his views. The situation was different with respect to another source of opposition to direct clerical participation in government. The religious society known as the Hojjatieh was originally supportive of the new constitutional arrangements, but Sheikh Mahmud Halabi and his Hojjatieh followers became increasingly concerned after 1980 as the number of clerics in high policymaking positions expanded. The Hojjatieh professed that, in the absence of the Shi‘i Twelfth Imam, the exercise of political rule was usurpation. They contended that the clergy must confine its role to that of providing religious guidance to the community of believers, and leave politics to laymen whose ignorance of religious doctrine made them more suitable to usurp the legitimate rights of the Hidden Imam. The Hojjatieh’s criticisms of clerical politicians coincided with the development of opposition, primarily from business interests, to IRP efforts to assert greater government control of the economy. In order to forestall the emergence of the Hojjatieh as a catalyzing opposition force, the IRP launched a campaign against the society’s “deviant” religious views during the summer and fall of 1983. Even Khomeini suggested indirectly but publicly that the positions of the Hojjatieh were incorrect and harmful. Subsequently the Hojjatieh decided to suspend its activities, presumably in order to avoid confrontations with IRP-organized street gangs.

Apart from dissent within the ranks of the supporters of theocracy, the IRP has confronted ideological opposition to the Islamic Republic. This has not diminished since 1980, but its effectiveness has been adversely affected by the war. The most serious challenge to the IRP had been posed by the Mojahedin. In June 1981, the Mojahedin seized upon the impeachment of Bani-Sadr to initiate a campaign of armed rebellion against the IRP-dominated government. The Mojahedin claimed responsibility for several sensational bombings, including the one at IRP headquarters in June 1981 which killed Beheshti and more than 70 party leaders, and a bomb two months later which took the lives of the new president, Mohamed Ali Rajai, and Prime Minister Javad Bahonar. The government responded to the Mojahedin challenge with mass arrests and summary executions. An estimated 7,000 persons, mostly young people, are believed to have been killed in 1981-1982.

Fate of The Opposition

The severity of the government’s reaction effectively eliminated as a serious internal opposition the Mujahidin as well as the Marxist Paykar and Fedayin (minority) parties which joined it in the armed struggle. While the Mojahedin does continue to operate underground cells in the country, and periodically claims responsibility for isolated bombings in Tehran and other cities, its primary role today is largely that of an external opposition force.

The reasons why the Mojahedin failed to secure popular support in its efforts to overthrow the clerical government in 1981-1982 are very complex. Clearly one important factor was the war with Iraq. During the height of the Mojahedin uprising, Iraq still occupied approximately one third of Khuzistan province, including the important city of Khorramshahr; the city Abadan was besieged and in danger of being captured; and the cities of Ahvaz and Dezful were in range of Iraqi artillery guns. Thus, the Mojahedin’s assault upon the government coincided with a grim phase of the war. This made it easy for the IRP to portray the Mujahidin as traitors and agents of foreign enemies at a time when popular anger against Iraq was high. The later willingness of the Mojahedin leader, Masoud Rajavi, to hold discussions with Iraqi officials provided Tehran with further propaganda against the Mojahedin.

Rajavi had escaped to France with Bani-Sadr in July 1981. Subsequently the two men formed the National Resistance Council to unite the external opposition to the IRP government. Predictably, given Bani-Sadr’s lack of an effective organization to advance his own philosophy, the Mojahedin dominated the NRC, continuing its own publishing activities and recruiting among Iranian students in Europe and the US while Bani-Sadr was gradually reduced to a figurehead. The two men finally split in the spring of 1984, ostensibly over differences regarding the proper stance to adopt toward Iraq. [2]

The Marxist parties have not fared any better than the Mojahedin. The Tudeh and the Fedayin (majority) both agreed to continue supporting the government at the time of the Mojahedin uprising, and stuck to this position throughout the conflict. Only in the fall of 1982, long after the Mojahedin had been suppressed, did the Tudeh express cautious criticism of government policies, specifically the decision to take the war into Iraq. IRP anger over this, coupled with irritation over warming Soviet-Iraqi relations, triggered the IRP attack on the Tudeh. Many IRP leaders had always believed that Tudeh cadres were nothing more than spies for the Soviet Union to begin with, and had never favored tolerating the Tudeh for expedient domestic or international policy reasons. In February 1983, the Tudeh secretary-general and more than two dozen other party leaders were arrested. In May, the Tudeh leaders were presented on television confessing that they were spies for the USSR. The party was disbanded by the government, more than 1,000 additional members were arrested, and all other Tudeh Party members were ordered to turn themselves in to the authorities. [3] In view of the conscious efforts of the Tudeh to work within the constitutional system and support the government, the severity of the IRP-ordered crackdown was unanticipated.

The Kurdish Factor

The Kurdish struggle for regional autonomy also has been affected by the war with Iraq. Despite the fighting in the south, the government has launched several new offensives in the Kurdish areas since 1980. The Revolutionary Guards have captured all the principal towns and have contained the fighting to rural, mountainous areas. The government’s relative success can be attributed to two factors. One is the inability of the Kurds to enlist support from non-Kurdish parts of Iran. While the Kurds have received some aid from the Mojahedin and two smaller Marxist parties, the country’s Persian-speaking majority, as well as the largest ethnic minority, the Azerbaijani Turks, tend to be unsympathetic to the Kurdish cause.

The second factor is the inability of the Kurds to exploit the Gulf war on account of historical animosity between Iraq’s Baath regime and the Kurdish national movement. Still, Iraq is the only practical source of supplies, since Turkey’s government is as hostile to the concept of Kurdish local autonomy as is Tehran. The Iranian Kurds’ natural allies, the Iraqi Kurds, were engaged in hostilities against Baghdad at least through December 1983. It is not clear whether the subsequent ceasefire between the Baath and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan can help Iran’s Kurds. [4] The effective control of the Iranian army and Revolutionary Guards over much of Kurdistan, including some strategic border passes, makes it unfeasible for Iraq, already defending long stretches of border in the south, to undertake any new offensives in support of Iran’s Kurds. The complexity of the Kurdish situation has made it easy for the IRP to argue that the militant Kurds are traitors to their country. Few Iranians outside of Kurdistan question this line.

The other two ideological orientations opposing the IRP vision of Iran have been largely impotent since the war with Iraq began. The secularists, have neither a strong political party nor an effective leader. The secular leaders tend to reject armed struggle as an acceptable means for effecting political change. During the first two years of the war, most secularists — who also tend to be Iranian nationalists — deemed it inappropriate to oppose the government even in peaceful ways and stressed the need to maintain national unity in the face of foreign invasion and occupation. More recently this hesitation has been eroded owing to the Iranian military advances, and some secular leaders have been more willing to voice criticisms. Many of the secular political activists, moreover, now live in exile in Europe and the United States.

Supporters of a monarchical restoration do not have any organized movement within Iran. All existing pro-monarchy groups are based outside of the country, and any internal strength they may have has yet to be tested. [5] Monarchists do claim credit for a spontaneous demonstration in Tehran in the summer of 1983, on the anniversary of the granting of the first constitution in 1906. It is unclear whether the demonstrators were motivated more by a desire for a secular constitution rather than the Islamic one now in force, or for a return to a “constitutional monarchy.” At any rate, there is little evidence of sympathy in Iran for any of the monarchist groups operating outside. This could be attributed partly to the division among the monarchists, although the groups are much less divided now than previously. More importantly, perhaps, some leading monarchists have openly collaborated with Iraq since 1980.

Islamic Standards

The IRP has been generally successful, then, in exploiting the war against all its opposition. [6] At the same time, it has demonstrated its ability to defend Iran from foreign aggression. In the process of mobilizing national solidarity for the war effort, the party has also been conscious of the necessity to build and strengthen the institutions which will perpetuate clerical rule.

Thus the war has been used not simply to discredit opponents but also to broaden support for the theocracy. In practice, this has meant a thorough desecularization of society. [7] The legal system has been “Islamicized” with new criminal, civil, commercial and moral codes prepared by Shi‘i jurists. The educational system has been purged of teachers and students suspected of not being sufficiently Islamic, and textbooks continue to be revised to conform with religiously acceptable interpretations. All of the government ministries, the military, the Revolutionary Guards, the police, and other security forces now have special offices headed by clergymen who are responsible for ensuring that personnel comport themselves according to Islamic standards of acceptable behavior and demonstrate sufficient knowledge of Islamic doctrine and rituals. Participation in regular communal prayers and abstinence from alcoholic beverages, drugs and illicit sex are considered essential for proving one’s Islamic worthiness.

Challenge From The Military?

The IRP’s success to date in maintaining its dominant political position has been facilitated by its control over the security forces. The war has been the primary factor in the expansion of both the regular and the irregular armed forces. By the summer of 1984, the total number of men serving as fighters for the Islamic Republic was estimated at half a million; approximately 185,000 were in the professional military — the army, air force and navy. Nearly the same number were in the Revolutionary Guards, and an estimated 150,000 were in the Basij-i Mostazafin (Mobilization of the Oppressed). Besides the IRP, these forces constituted the primary organized — and armed — group within Iran and consequently were the focus of attention by both those who feared and those who hoped that they could serve as a potential source for a coup d’etat against the government. The army in particular has been perceived as the most likely locus of any serious challenge to the regime. In fact, since 1980 the government has announced that it has foiled several coup plots by army officers. There were two separate conspiracies in the summer of 1980 involving more than 600 officers. In 1982, several score officers were implicated in an alleged plot to assassinate Khomeini, and at least 70 were executed. In 1983, five air force officers were charged with a plot to bomb Khomeini’s home.

Several significant factors make it improbable that a successful coup d’etat would originate within the army. First, the army has been purged of career officers whose loyalty to the present constitutional structure is suspect. Second, most of the current officer corps have advanced from junior ranks since 1979, and done so on the strength of their demonstrated loyalty to the IRP. Third, except for the career officers, the army is composed of young draftees thoroughly indoctrinated in the new religious and political values. Fourth, the IRP itself exercises direct ideological — and political — control over the army through a special office within the ministry of defense which assigns its own representatives — invariably Shi‘i preachers — at all levels to monitor soldiers and ensure that they perform Islamic rituals and behave properly. Fifth, the army as an institution has demonstrated its fealty to the regime in power since February 1979, when the army command decided not to oppose the revolutionaries who had taken over the government.

Meeting Needs

The creation of new governmental institutions and an effective security apparatus has preoccupied the IRP, but the stability of the regime also depends upon its ability to meet the material needs of the population. In this respect, the impact of the Gulf war upon the Iranian economy has been quite significant.

Initially, the war severely affected the economy. Khorramshahr, Iran’s main port of entry for imports, was devastated and captured by Iraq; its largest refinery on Abadan island was damaged too extensively to operate; a flood of more than a million refugees from the war zone placed a heavy strain on services. In 1980 Iran was still embroiled in the hostage affair and was just beginning to experience the effects of economic sanctions which the US and its European allies had imposed. [8] These sanctions, combined with the destruction of cargo in the customs warehouses of Khorramshahr, produced a shortage of foodstuffs and other consumer necessities. The government introduced a rationing system for many products, including meat, rice, dairy products, gasoline and heating oil. Operated out of the mosques, the system was reasonably efficient in ensuring that minimal supplies of essentials reached the majority of the urban population.

The resolution of the hostage crisis led to the lifting of international sanctions early in 1981. Smaller ports such as Lengeh, Bushehr and Bandar Abbas, all farther down the Gulf and removed from the war zone, were expanded to handle more ships, [9] while a brisk transshipment trade developed between Dubai in the UAE and ports along the Iranian coast. An increasing volume of imports were brought into the country via the overland route from Europe through Turkey. Smaller refineries were expanded to compensate for the lost production from Abadan and all petroleum exporting was centered on Kharg island. As a consequence, Iran was able to reverse the initial setbacks caused by the war within two years. By the middle of 1982, in fact, the increased production and export of oil was earning the government more than $1.5 billion monthly, and in 1983, oil revenues reached a record $26 billion for the year. [10] The steady oil revenues in 1982 and 1983 enabled the government to prosecute the war, which cost more than $1 billion per month, according to a late 1983 estimate. Simultaneously the regime maintained a minimal level of socioeconomic services and investment. Oil revenues have provided the principal source of foreign exchange needed to finance imports of weapons, food and other goods.

While the industrial sector does not appear to be producing at its pre-revolutionary levels, output in most factories reportedly has recovered from the low levels of 1979-1981. The government itself has made major investments in key industries such as steel, copper and petroleum. There has also been an expansion of factories producing war-related goods. The high unemployment experienced by urban workers in the 1979-1981 period has also been reduced, although the unemployment rate among adult male heads of household may still be as high as 10 percent. Unemployment among youth is also lower than in the 1979-1981 period, although this can partially be accounted for by the fact that an estimated 900,000 youths have been removed from the labor force temporarily or permanently due to the war. (Officially, conscription is universal for all males aged 19-24, but deferments seem to have been fairly easy to obtain for educational purposes up through the end of 1983. Since then the draft has become much less selective, although it still seems that military service falls disproportionately upon the lower class and rural youth.)

Agriculture has not fared any better under the Islamic Republic than under the ancien regime. [11] Food purchases continue to represent a heavy burden on the import bill. During 1983, food imports cost an estimated $4 billion. Despite the volume of imports, it has still been necessary to maintain a food rationing system, especially for meat, rice and dairy products. There are complaints about the rationing system: that the best quality foods get siphoned off into the black market; that hours must be spent each day in long lines; that local shops frequently run out of rationed products before all persons holding ration cards can make their purchases; and that an increasing variety of non-food consumer items are becoming subject to rationing. [12] Nevertheless, the system does operate despite these problems, and its main beneficiaries are the urban poor who have been able to obtain low-cost necessities which otherwise may have been reserved for the privileged elite.

That the Iranian economy has fared tolerably well under the impact of the war has not gone unnoticed by Iraq. In February 1984, Baghdad launched a new phase of the war by initiating a general policy of striking oil tankers in the Gulf loaded with Iranian oil. The Iraqi strikes — and the Iranian counterattacks against ships loading Arab oil — caused the insurance rates for ships sailing into the Gulf to increase, thus discouraging some buyers. Iran has experienced a decline in revenues, which it has attempted to counteract by discounting its oil as much as $2.50 per barrel. The decrease in revenues has affected government spending, but it has not been severe enough to impede Iran’s own war efforts. By midsummer it even appeared as if the Iranian discounts had succeeded in restoring oil exports to the levels they had been before the “tanker war” had begun.

Weary of War

In assessing the overall impact of four years of war, it seems that the process of mobilizing the populace for war has clearly facilitated the IRP’s project to desecularize Iran. As long as the country is perceived to be in danger, there seems to be general acquiescence to government policies. The government was able to capitalize upon the image of Iran as a victim of aggression. Even the virtual reign of terror against the Mojahedin in the last half of 1981 failed to provoke a widespread protest.

There seems to have been a gradual change in popular attitudes toward the war, though, since the end of 1982. Iranian military successes, beginning in early 1982 and culminating in the liberation of Khorramshahr and the expulsion of Iraqi forces from most of Iranian territory, have altered how the war is perceived. Once Iranian forces began to launch offensives into Iraq, and even succeeded in capturing some Iraqi land — at the price of heavy casualties — a greater willingness to question war aims seems to have developed among the political elite and military as well as among the general populace. [13] The broadening of war objectives from liberating Iran from foreign forces to liberating Iraq from the Baath government reportedly has aroused concern among various persons who make war-related decisions. There are credible reports of serious disputes even within the IRP. [14] Nevertheless, Khomeini himself has been determined to continue the war, and his position has discouraged public debate. [15]

Among the population as a whole, concern over the war has manifested itself as a diffuse form of war-weariness. There is no evidence to suggest that expressions of frustration with the prolonged fighting have crystallized into opposition to the government’s policies. Indeed, the war is still generally perceived as a wrong inflicted upon the country, and the government has been able to recruit young men to join the armed forces without encountering major resistance. Nevertheless, Iranians who have traveled outside their country during 1983 and 1984 report that there is pervasive impatience and a growing concern about the increasing casualties. It would probably be premature to characterize this general uneasiness as discontent. The sense of grievance against Iraq is still strong. It was reinforced in May and June (1984) when Iraqi missiles caused several hundred civilian casualties in more than a dozen cities and towns of western Iran.

The IRP has proven itself capable of governing a country of 40 million engaged in war. The physical destruction of the war has been largely contained to the southwest, while oil revenues have been used to limit negative economic effects. It is unclear how popular the IRP government is, but it is obvious that the majority of the population is willing to acquiesce to its rule, at least as long as the war continues. Since the war has dragged on now for four years, the IRP has been able to establish roots for the theocratic society it envisions for Iran. This means that if the war ends on terms perceived as favorable to Iran, far from signaling the start of a revolt against the government — as many observers have hypothesized — it could actually enhance its survival for years to come. If Tehran were to accept a ceasefire under the present conditions of apparent stalemate, the legitimacy of the regime could be seriously eroded. If Iran began to encounter major military defeats, then the IRP would be blamed directly, and its efforts to institutionalize theocracy would be in jeopardy.


[1] For more detail about the Mojahedin’s attitudes toward Marxism, see Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), pp. 492-493; and Suroosh Irfani, Revolutionary Islam in Iran (London: Zed Books, 1983), p. 109.
[2] Rajavi’s meeting with Iraq’s foreign minister, Tariq ‘Aziz, in March 1984 was cited by Bani-Sadr as the primary reason for his break with Rajavi. See Iran Times, April 20, 1984.
[3] See Iran Times, May 6 and 13, 1983.
[4] For an assessment of the overall Kurdish situation since December 1983, see “Learning from Lessons Past,” The Middle East May 1984, p. 48.
[5] Monarchist groups in exile are reviewed in Richard Chesnoff, “Iran/Paris: The Iranian Exiles,” New York Times Magazine, February 12, 1984.
[6] For further detail and firsthand accounts of the opposition movements, see the interviews and articles in “Khomeini and the Opposition,” MERIP Reports 104 (March-April 1982) and “Iran Since the Revolution,” MERIP Reports 113 (March-April 1983).
[7] For an informative analysis of the “Islamicization” of society, see Jean-Loup Herbert, “La force mobilisatrice d’une spirituality,” in Le Monde Diplomatique, April 1984, pp. 17-18.
[8] For an analysis of the effect of sanctions on the Iranian economy, see Philip Shehadi, “Economic Sanctions and Iranian Trade,” MERIP Reports 98 (July-August 1981), pp. 15-16.
[9] Bandar Abbas’ development as a major shipping port is explained in The Middle East, May 1984, p. 51.
[10] Le Monde Diplomatique, April 1984, p. 14.
[11] For an evaluation of agricultural production since the revolution, see “Striving Toward More Efficient Agriculture,” Arabia: The Islamic World Review, July 1983, pp. 29-31.
[12] Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1984 and Financial Times, June 5, 1984.
[13] The army in particular is very critical of the human wave tactics used by the Revolutionary Guards in their offensives against Iraqi positions. See Financial Times, June 5, 1984.
[14] The Middle East, April 1984, p. 16.
[15] Khomeini most recently reaffirmed the necessity of continuing the war during his public address to mark Id-il-Fitr. See Iran Times, July 6, 1984.

How to cite this article:

Eric Hooglund "The Gulf War and the Islamic Republic," Middle East Report 125/126 (July-September 1984).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This