Iran–Iraq War

Iran–Iraq War
Part of the Persian Gulf conflicts
Iran-Iraq war-gallery.png
Participation of child soldiers on the Iranian front (top left); Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask (top right); Port quarter view of USS Stark listing to port after being mistakenly struck by an Iraqi warplane (middle left); Pro-Iraq PMOI forces killed in Operation Mersad (middle right); Iraqi prisoners of war after the re-capture of Khorramshahr by Iranians (below left); ZU-23-2 being used by the Iranian Army (below right).
Date22 September 1980 – 20 August 1988
(7 years, 10 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
LocationIran, Iraq, Persian Gulf

Stalemate; both sides claim victory

  • Iraqi failure to annex Iranian territories and bolster Arab separatism in Khuzestan Province of Iran
  • Iranian failure to topple Saddam Hussein and destroy Iraqi military power as well as inspire sectarian divide in Iraq[15]
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 598
"Status quo ante bellum"; observed by United Nations Iran–Iraq Military Observer Group based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 619


DRFLA[2][3][verification needed]

Commanders and leaders

Iran Ruhollah Khomeini
(Supreme Leader of Iran)

Iraq Saddam Hussein
(President of Iraq)

Units involved
see order of battlesee order of battle
At the onset of the war:[17]
110,000–150,000 soldiers,
1,700–2,100 tanks,[18] (500 operable)[19]
1,000 armoured vehicles,
300 operable artillery pieces,[20]
485 fighter-bombers (205 fully operational)[21],
750 helicopters
After Iraq withdrew from Iran in 1982:
350,000 soldiers,
700 tanks,
2,700 armoured vehicles,
400 artillery pieces,
350 aircraft,
700 helicopters
Early 1988:[22]
600,000 soldiers,
1,000 operable tanks,
800 armoured vehicles,
600 heavy artillery pieces,
60–80 fighter-bombers,
70–90 helicopters
At the onset of the war:[23]
200,000 soldiers,
2,800 tanks,
4,000 APCs,
1,400 artillery pieces,
380 fighter-bombers,
350 helicopters
After Iraq withdrew from Iran in 1982:
175,000 soldiers,
1,200 tanks,
2,300 armoured vehicles,
400 artillery pieces,
450 aircraft,
180 helicopters
At the end of the war:
1,500,000 soldiers,[24]
~5,000 tanks,
8,500–10,000 APCs,
6,000–12,000 artillery pieces,
900 fighter-bombers,
1,000 helicopters
Casualties and losses

123,220–160,000 KIA and 60,711 MIA (Iranian claim)[25][26]
200,000–600,000 killed (other estimates)[25][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]
800,000 killed (Iraqi claim)[25]
320,000–500,000 WIA[28][35][36]
40,000–42,875 POW[35][36]
11,000–16,000 civilian dead[25][26]

Economic loss of US$627 billion[27][37]

105,000–375,000 killed[35][37][38][39][40]
250,000–500,000 (other estimates)[41]
400,000 WIA[39]
70,000 POW[28][39]

Economic loss of $561 billion[27][37]

100,000+ civilians killed on both sides[42]
(not including 50,000–100,000 civilians killed in the Al-Anfal campaign)[43]

¹ The exact number of Iraqi Shia that fought alongside Iran is unknown. The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Islamic Dawa Party supported Iran during the war. Iran would sometimes organise divisions of Iraqi POWs to fight against Iraq.

The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq, beginning on 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, and ending on 20 August 1988, when Iran accepted the UN-brokered ceasefire. Iraq wanted to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf state, and was worried that the 1979 Iranian Revolution would lead Iraq's Shi'ite majority to rebel against the Ba'athist government. The war also followed a long history of border disputes, and Iraq planned to annex the oil-rich Khuzestan Province and the east bank of the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud).

Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of Iran's post-revolutionary chaos, it made limited progress and was quickly repelled; Iran regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years, Iran was on the offensive[44] until near the end of the war.[39] There were a number of proxy forces—most notably the People's Mujahedin of Iran siding with Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdish militias of the KDP and PUK siding with Iran. The United States, Soviet Union, France, and most Arab countries provided support for Iraq, while Iran was largely isolated. After eight years, war-weariness, economic problems, decreased morale, repeated Iranian military failures, recent Iraqi successes, Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction and lack of international sympathy, and increased U.S.–Iran military tension all led to a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations.

The conflict has been compared to World War I in terms of the tactics used, including large-scale trench warfare with barbed wire stretched across fortified defensive lines, manned machine guns, bayonet charges, Iranian human wave attacks, extensive use of chemical weapons by Iraq, and, later, deliberate attacks on civilian targets.

An estimated 500,000 Iraqi and Iranian soldiers died, in addition to a smaller number of civilians. The end of the war resulted in neither reparations nor border changes.


The Iran–Iraq War was originally referred to as the Gulf War until the Persian Gulf War of 1990 and 1991, after which it was known as the First Persian Gulf War. The Iraq–Kuwait conflict, which was known as the Second Persian Gulf War, eventually became known simply as the Gulf War. The Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 has been called the Second Persian Gulf War[citation needed].

In Iran, the war is known as the Imposed War (جنگ تحمیلی Jang-e Tahmili) and the Holy Defense (دفاع مقدس Defā'-e Moghaddas). State media in Iraq dubbed the war Saddam's Qadisiyyah (قادسية صدام, Qādisiyyat Ṣaddām), in reference to the seventh-century Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, in which Arab warriors overcame the Sasanian Empire during the Muslim conquest of Persia.[45]

Other Languages
башҡортса: Иран-Ираҡ һуғышы
Bikol Central: Gerang Iran-Irak
français: Guerre Iran-Irak
Bahasa Indonesia: Perang Iran-Irak
لۊری شومالی: جأن ئیران و عأراق
Bahasa Melayu: Perang Iran-Iraq
Nederlands: Irak-Iranoorlog
norsk nynorsk: Irak-Irankrigen
português: Guerra Irã-Iraque
Simple English: Iran–Iraq War
slovenščina: Iransko-iraška vojna
српски / srpski: Ирачко-ирански рат
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Iračko-iranski rat
Türkmençe: Eýran-Yrak urşy
Tiếng Việt: Chiến tranh Iran-Iraq
粵語: 兩伊戰爭
中文: 两伊战争