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Iran marks return anniversary of soldiers captive in Saddam’s prisons

The 26th of Mordad in the Iranian calendar, which falls on August 17, marks the return anniversary of Iranian soldiers who were held captive by the regime of Western-backed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980s war on Iran.

The Iraq-Iran war, the longest armed conflict of the 20th century, was waged on September 22, 1980, by Saddam Hussein, who at the time enjoyed financial and military support from dozens of Western and regional countries.

The Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs announced in a report that a total of 218,867 Iranians embraced martyrdom or went missing during Iraq’s eight-year war of aggression.

The foundation also said 399,174 Iranians sustained various-degrees injuries during the 1980s war and 44,863 others were taken captive by the Iraqi regime forces.

The war drew to a close in 1988, when Iran accepted UN Security Council Resolution 598 which declared Saddam as the initiator of the conflict.

On August 17, 1990, the Iraqi regime was obliged to start the emancipation process of Iran’s captives and prisoners of war following a swap deal clinched earlier that year.

In a statement on Thursday, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces commemorated the auspicious occasion and congratulated the 33rd anniversary of the return of Iranian soldiers from captivity in Iraqi prisons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also took to the social media to congratulate the Iranian nation on the return anniversary of the soldiers.

Iraq waged the war against Iran more than one and a half years after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime.

Saddam Hussein failed to make any achievement in the 1980s war but the humanitarian effects of the offensive he launched are still lingering in Iran, with many war veterans continuing to reel from exposure to chemical substances used by Iraq during the war.

Iraq launched over 350 large-scale gas attacks along the Iran-Iraq border between 1980 and 1988 on combatants and non-combatants, leaving behind thousands of victims. Those chemical materials were supplied by a number of German, French, and Dutch corporations.

The eight-year Iranian defense set up the foundation for the emergence of the axis of Islamic resistance in West Asia and set in motion the decline and defeat of two superpowers of those days, namely the Soviet Union and the United States.

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