Iran–Iraq War

Iran–Iraq War
Part of the Persian Gulf Conflicts
Iran-Iraq war-gallery.png
Participation of child soldiers on 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).
Date 22 September 1980 – 20 August 1988
(7 years, 10 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Location Iran, Iraq, Persian Gulf

Military stalemate

" Status quo ante bellum"; observed by United Nations Iran–Iraq Military Observer Group based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 619



DRFLA [4] [5]
KDPI [6]
  Sudan [7]

Commanders and leaders

Iran Ruhollah Khomeini
( Supreme Leader of Iran)

Iraq Saddam Hussein
( President of Iraq)

Units involved
see order of battle see order of battle
At the onset of the war: [19]
110,000–150,000 soldiers,
1,700–2,100 tanks, [20] (500 operable) [21]
1,000 armoured vehicles,
300 operable artillery pieces, [22]
485 fighter-bombers (~100 operable),
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: [23]
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: [24]
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, [25]
~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) [26] [27]
200,000–600,000 killed (other estimates) [26] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35]
800,000 killed (Iraqi claim) [26]
320,000–500,000 WIA [29] [36] [37]
40,000–42,875 POW [36] [37]
11,000–16,000 civilian dead [26] [27]

Economic loss of US$627 billion [28] [38]

105,000–375,000 killed [36] [38] [39] [40] [41]
250,000–500,000 (other estimates) [42]
400,000 WIA [40]
70,000 POW [29] [40]

Economic loss of $561 billion [28] [38]

100,000+ civilians killed on both sides [43]
(not including 50,000–100,000 civilians killed in the Al-Anfal campaign) [44]

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 lasting from 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, to 20 August 1988. The war followed a long history of border disputes, and was motivated by fears that the Iranian Revolution in 1979 would inspire insurgency among Iraq's Shi'ite majority, as well as Iraq's desire to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf state. 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 revolutionary chaos and attacked without formal warning, it made only limited progress into Iran and was quickly repelled; Iran regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years, Iran was on the offensive [45] until the decisive Iraqi Tawakalna ala Allah Operations which compelled Iran to accept peace [40].

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 gun posts, bayonet charges, Iranian human wave attacks, extensive use of chemical weapons by Iraq, and later deliberate attacks on civilian targets. The world powers United States and the Soviet Union, together with France and most Arab countries provided support for Iraq, while Iran was largely isolated. After eight years of war, repeated Iranian failures on the battlefield and consequent Iraqi successes, lack of international sympathy as Iraq was increasingly targeting Iranian civilians with weapons of mass destruction, and increasing direct military tension between Iran and the United States eventually led to a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, are believed to have died, with many more injured; however, the war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders. A number of proxy forces participated in the war, most notably the Iranian People's Mujahedin of Iran siding with Ba'athist Iraq and Iraqi Kurdish militias of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan siding with Iran—all suffering a major blow by the end of the conflict. In an effort to recoup following damage caused by the war, Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, only to be repulsed by a US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf War.


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.

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. [46]

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
Tiếng Việt: Chiến tranh Iran-Iraq
粵語: 兩伊戰爭
中文: 两伊战争