Things less expressed which are registered in the 279th program of “The Night of Memory”

Several commanders, operations commemorated in clear part of memoirs

Maryam Rajabi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


According to the website of Iranian Oral History, the 279th part from the series “The Night of Memory” was held on Thursday evening 27th of April 2017 in Sooreh Hall of the Art Center. Ali Mohammad Assadi, Ehsan Rajabi and Behrouz Amani retold their memoirs of the Scared Defense period in this show.

In the beginning, a clip about those who had retold their memoirs in previous shows was played. The clip is played in the first program of The Night of Memory in every New Year so that they are commemorated.


Two operations registered nowhere!

The first narrator of the 279th program of "The Night of Memory" was Ali Mohammad Assadi who started his memories by saying, "The Sacred Defense period has many sweet and bitter memories some of which can be expressed and some others cannot. We were on the verge of carrying out an operation named Seyed al-Shohad (AS) Operation which was against Iraq's moving defense and was supposed to be carried out in almost all across the fronts. The role of the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) in Operation Valfajr 8 was to pass over the water in Om-al-Rasas Island. The mission was considered a secondary one. One or two nights before the operation, the divers of the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) carried out their operation in the island and surprised the enemy, and other combat units could start the operation from Abadan and achieve their goals which had already been determined in Fav operation area.

When our mission in the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) came to an end, we returned to Dokouheh Barracks. One of our battalions was in Majnoun Island for defense and a battalion had gone to Fav area to stabilize the region. The guys were very happy since they took a leave of absence after four months to visit their families. But as soon as they put on their clothes and closed their packs, the speaker of the Hosseinieh announced that the commander was going to talk to the combatants. At that time we had some six battalions which were supposed to go on leave, the Battalion of Hazrat Ali Asghar (PBUH) commanded by martyr Brigadier General Hossain Eskandar Lou, the Battalion of Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) commanded by martyr Mohammad Hassan Hassanian, the Battalion of Hazrat Zainab (peace be upon her) which we were the member of this battalion and our job was diving, the Battalion of Hazrat Ali Akbar (PBUH), the Battalion of Hazrat Qassem (PBUH) and the Battalion of Qamar Bani Hashem (PBUH).  When we formed a file, they told us that the Iraqi army was supposed to attack from Fakkeh area with four divisions and to cut Ahwaz-Khorramshahr road, and if you do not stand against them, the Islamic Republic might have to pay a high price for making them to retreat later. It was very strange that after this, the entire combatants delivered back their leave papers even martyr Nadali Tal'ati whose baby was supposed to be born two days later. The friends insisted a lot on him to leave the area but he did not agree. He said, "If I leave here, the love of the child might touch a cord in my heart and I could not come back, thus staying behind my goal." A question may be raised here whether the combatant guys loved their wives and children? In response, I should say that yes. All of us loved our parents and wives and children, but we had to carry out the mission shouldered on us. For instance, martyr Reza Abdi put the photo of his son on his heart. We asked him to put the photo at least inside his right pocket. He did not agree and in response, he said that he was my heart. But he finally renounced the same heart for the sake his goals. At any rate, the guys prepared and several helicopters came and transferred the commanders of the battalions to Fakkeh area to identify the region. This happened very fast and we had to stand against the Iraqis.



The commander of an army headquarters presented a report to Brigadier General Ali Fazli, showing the situation of the area and believed that this was hard and impossible and that the Iraqi forces could not be stopped. In response, Haj Hossain Eskandar Lou said, "Logic tells us not to go, but love says to move. When my commander tells me to move forward, I don't pay any attention to the final result. As Imam Khomeini has said, we are duty bound to do our mission without paying attention to the result." On the other hand, martyr Hassanian took hold of an antenna which was in the pocket of the army commander and he used for showing the map and said with laughter that if we could grab even an antenna for army brothers, we have done a great job.

Two battalions of Al-Mahdi (may god hasten reappearance) and Hazrat Ali Asghar (PBUH) were involved in the operation at the night of operation. Since only the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) was present in the operation, it was named Operation Seyed al-Shohad (AS). The operation's code was also Seyed al-Shohad (AS). The combatants of the two battalions launched a Karbala in Fakkeh. Like the battle of Imam Hussain (PBUH) in the noon of Ashura in Karbala, the operation started in the morning and ended at noon. Hossain Eskandar Lou was martyred there. It had come to the pinch and even we had to retreat in an area, but three days later, Iraq moved back and some eight days later, we transferred the bodies of the martyred to the back. The operation was a defeated one in appearance but it was very important and decisive inwardly. In fact, if we were not launched the operation at that night, it was very likely that the Ahwaz-Khorramshahr road would fell to Iraq, and what happened in the first days of the war, would be repeated again.

Seyed al-Shohad (AS) Operation as well as the National Defense Operation (which I am sure a few people have heard its name) have been registered nowhere. When we visited the late Brigadier General Hossain Ardestani who was in charge of registration of the war's events, he told Brigadier General Fazli that he remembered nothing of registration of the two operations. In fact, it was our fault that we said nothing of them and as a result, they were not registered.

What is the National Defense Operation? When the Islamic Republic of Iran accepted the UN Resolution 598, the MKO terrorist outfit known as hypocrites attacked the country from the west and the minds of the whole people were engaged in the western Iran. They were unaware that another Karbala had happened in the south. It was the climax of the hot weather in Khuzestan Province and on other hand, the people were confused and did not know whether the peace would be implemented or not. At the same time, we were informed that Iraq had attacked from air and ground and broken our defense line and reached to Ahwaz-Khorramshahr road. The Iraqis also intended to surround Abadan. Iraq was seeking to take advantage of what was happening. After the Morning Prayer, we started moving and never thought that the Iraqis had reached to Ahwaz-Khorramshahr road. We even did not have enough weapons and when we reached the road, faced with a melee. At first, we thought that they were friendly forces, but later when we faced with the diving and maneuvers of the jetfighters above us, found out that they were Iraqi forces. The clash started form the Koushk area and Hossainieh three-way. We did not have enough weapons and even necessary familiarity with the area, and did not know form where the enemy had started and what its aim was and which area it was going to seize? The Hazrat Zahra (SA) Brigade from the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) started moving toward Koushk. The Division 41 of Sarallah commanded by the brave Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani moved toward the left side of the area and we went to Khorramshahr. The smoke of the burnt Iraqi tanks had filled the area. However, many of our guys were martyred in this operation.

I told you this to know that our enemies cannot be trusted, because after the acceptance of the UN resolution, the enemy attacked us with all of its military equipment. That is why the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has said that our enemies cannot be trusted. At that time, we saw one side of the coin that the armed-to-the-teeth army attacked us, and the other side of the coin was revealed when our POWs were freed and said what divisions had supported behind the Iraqi forces. This shows that the enemy had advanced with a planned plot.

We had a truck in which there were 27 combatants. A cannon shell hit the truck and five of them all of whom Seyeds were martyred and the rest injured but not critically. Today, a tomb named "The Martyrs of Khamseh Sadat" or "The Martyrs of Kowthar" has been built near the place where they were martyred. Of course, it has been distorted that parts of their bodies have been remained, but this is not true, because their bodies had been burnt and we could transfer only parts of their bodies and deliver them to their families. On the other hand, the tombs are not located exactly at the point where the missile hit. The five martyrs were Saheb Mohammadi, Seyed Davoud Tabatabaee, Seyed Hossain Hossaini, Seyed Davoud Mousavi, and Seyed Alireza that time, if someone were able to laugh, his lips cracked out of thirst, but the guys advanced empty-handed and without any facilities and only backed by the Imam word who said, “Have the youth of Ahwaz died?”

In continuation, about Brigadier General Fazli, he said, “We have talked a lot about the martyrs, but not too much about those who survived.  About Brigadier General Fazli, the commander of the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS), the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution said during the Sacred Defense years, “It’s an honor to call the name of Mr. Fazli. During the years that I had the honor of being with him, I did not see even one time that he talked behind someone’s back, but he punished us many times; very rough and heavy physical punishment. The reason for the punishment was that the guys did not wear helmets. But the toughness caused many guys were not injured in the head.”

Mr. Fazli rejected no mission. For instance, if this Operation Seyed al-Shohad (AS) was submitted to another unit, it might be not accepted. In Operation Karbala 5, all of the battalions of the tenth division were almost destroyed. When we looked back, we saw that all of the tailors, cooks and barbers had guns in their hands. When we asked the story, they said that Mr. Fazli had gone to the headquarters and announced that he had one more battalion. In fact, the guys of the Installation Department set up a defense line in the area as a battalion. The Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) in Operation Karbala 5 attacked the enemy’s line for some four or five times, and he even for one time did not say that I was not able to do this. Mr. Fazli was injured severely in the foot and back in Operation Valfajr, and lost his eye. Nevertheless, he stayed just a few days in the hospital, returned to the area with that physical condition and organized the division. Someone should hold his hand for walking. After the war’ termination, he also created many honors for Iran. After the earthquake in the area of Loshan, the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) commanded by Mr. Fazli attended there with the whole facilities, stayed there for a month and helped the people. The Deputy Commander of the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) Haj Ahmad Qolami was martyred in Syria’s Aleppo at the age of 60, and it is interesting to know that today the Tenth Division of Seyed al-Shohad (AS) is at the service of the pilgrims in Karbala during the Arba’een days.

After the narration, the Mehrab Tavashih Group performed a song.



The happiest photos!

The second narrator of the 279th program of the Memory Night was Ehsan Rajabi, the comrade of martyr Morteza Avini and a sacred defense photographer whose photo exhibitions had been launched on the sideline of this show. He started by saying, “we had a conex in Dokouheh Barracks. The relocation of this conex in Operation Valfajr 8 was very important. This conex was under the enemy’s far at the night of the operation and we tried to save it from that situation. The importance of the conex was that it had a curtain for screening, audio facilities, lighting facilities, a generator and an electric engine. When we saved the conex out of the enemy’s fire, it was supposed to be kept for cultural affairs in Dokouheh Barracks. It was a good place for Saeed Jan Bozorgi and Masoud Qandi and the friends who did graphic works. Many caricatures, the situation of the operations and paintings on the doors and walls had been designed in this conex. Those veteran guys who are now in the Majlis or parliament remember that when the town of Mehran was liberated, and before the war combatants returned form the operational areas, the words of Imam and selected texts had been written on the entire walls of the town with a special coloring. This had changed the face of the town and doubled the morale of the combatants.”

In continuation, he said, “Dear Avini attained martyrdom in 1993. Mr. Homayoun Far had given me a mission to produce a program for the first martyrdom anniversary of martyr Avini and to play it in universities. Seyed Mohammad Avini selected an article from him named “Explosion of Information”. We only used archival photos and its montage was very difficult. I had to concentrate on this film. But my wife was sick at that time and this had preoccupied me. On the other hand, due to my interest in martyr Avini, I was going to do the job with a special delicacy. I asked help from different friends such as Nader Nader Pour and Mohammad Avini in order to turn the article into a video clip. In those busy and discontent days, one night I was at home due to my wife’s illness. When I slept, I dreamed that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution had come to our house. My wife offered him a cup of tea and my son who was two years old at that time whirled around the Leader and he sometimes fondled him. In my dream, the Leader asked me to show his my photo albums to see the photos. I showed him two albums. Having seen some photos, he smiled and some others, upset. In my dream, I was concerned which of the photos had made the Leader upset. When I woke up, I described the dream to my wife. She asked me to write everything before I forgot. But at that moment, I felt that my wife would be recovered and the montage would be done well.



Some 40 days passed from the dream and when I was busy doing the final montage of Mr. Morteza’s film, the office of the Supreme Leader called me and said that the Leader was willing to allot his limited leisure times to the literature of the Sacred Defense. Then he said that since we know your photos, bring the photos to show them in those times. In response, I said there are many photographers who work in the area of the Sacred Defense, why me? He answered, “The leader remembers the photo you had taken from martyr Amir Haj Amini as well as the car of Haji Bakhshi.” In those days, I had fully concentrated on the work of Mr. Avini and said I had no photo prepared and excused and our conversation ended here.

Masoud Qandi and Morteza Mustafavi came to the office of Ravayat-e Fat’h group on the afternoon of the same day and asked me to give the photo of Haj Amini to them in order to be used in the funeral ceremony of a thousand martyrs who were supposed to be held across the country. I described him the story happened on the same day with the Leader’s office and said that I had no photo of him at present. He was shocked and got upset and asked whether what I was saying. I answered yes and continued that I am working on the montage of Mr. Avini’s film and it is very important for me to do this well for his first anniversary martyrdom. He said it is important in its place, but we have to do this definitely. Mr. Masoud said he would come to my house at night and take the photos along with the photo of martyr Haj Amini in ordered to be printed along with Mr. Rajabi Memar. This was done and eventually, they brought two albums for me one of which was the Sacred Defense photos and the other was the ones I had taken from Bosnia, Lebanon and Palestine. They asked me to call the Leader’s office and say that the photos were ready. When I called the office asked them to write a text for the Leader.  The next day, they called me to write the text and send it along with photos. After seeing the two albums, my wife said that they are the same albums you had dreamt.

Some one or two years later, I went to Lebanon as the head for producing 19 programs about the Zionist regime’s 33-day war against Lebanon in order to guide the programs the groups had to prepare. I was shouldered to direct the programs on which three groups were working in order to compile them. Finally, the programs finished under the title “The beginning of an End”. I had lung problems and in that trip, as a result a phosphorous bomb hit near us, my problem worsened and was transferred to the hospital, insofar as I took strong anti-biotic drugs constantly so that my blood placates increased to the normal level. On the other hand, I was not in good health conditions psychologically. In that situation, Mr. Qadami came to the hospital and insisted me to take part in a ceremony attended by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution for memory-telling of the Sacred Defense period and to be cured thanks to the presence of the Leader and the Sacred Defense friends. Finally, despite the severe weakness I had, I took part in the ceremony but felt so bad that I couldn’t talk. At last, I wrote a letter on the insistence of the friends explaining to him, “The story of the albums in front of you is the story of a lover Basiji (voluntary force) who had taken gun from him and given him a camera…” of course, I don’t remember the text well. But in continuation, I explained that the photos you see today are not beautiful; but they are the happiest ones. The friends in the Leader’s office spoke highly of the letter and photos and eventually, upon my request, the albums were returned to me, but the letter was kept. After seeing the photos, the Leader asked them to be published and now, it’s about three or four years that the photos are published with the assistance of the Association for Photographers of Revolution and Sacred Defense.   

The photos of Haj Amini and the car of Haji Bakhshi are very memorable. But there is another photo presented in an exhibition on the sideline of the program. It is the photo a disabled veteran whose head, hand and back had been hit by shrapnel pieces. In that situation, when the relief worker asked him to lie down, he did not accept and looked at the front, as if he felt that why he should be here now? In fact, some of the photos I have taken have such memoirs behind them. But these events cannot be registered and it is just the same framework which remains.”

After this memory-telling, a clip from the speech of martyr Sayad Shirazi was played.



A military clergy

The third narrator of the 279th program of the Memory Night was engineer Behrouz Emami, the son-in-law of martyr Sayad Shirazi. He started by saying, “Until his martyrdom, it was about seven years that I was his son-in-law. Some four days before his martyrdom which was concurrent with Eid-al Qadir, as usual, the younger families visited the older ones. Thus, I, my wife, and two children went to the house of martyr Sayad Shirazi on that day. I addressed him as Haj Aqa and his wife as Haj Khanom. We reached at some 10 AM. Haj Khanim had stood in front of the door. When I kissed with Haj Aqa and entered the house, Haj Khanom said Haj Aqa had been promoted to major general. The Leader had given the promotion decree of Sayad Shirazi as major general on Eid-al Qadir Day. Haj Aqa had gone to visit the Leader along with other officials, and the Leader had signed his decree in that meeting. My wife asked his father whether you were happy of the promotion. He answered it makes no difference for whether to be a lieutenant, a major, a brigadier general or a major general. It is important that the Leader represented by Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) is satisfied with me and has given the military rank. He addressed his wife and said, the rank is special for you who have tolerated all the hardship during these many years. Haj Khanom smiled with a special humbleness and thanked.

I remember that we had gone to one of the units of Iran Army Aviation in Isfahan. When we came out of the room, I saw that a soldier was polishing the shoes of martyr Sayad Shirazi. He got angry and told the soldier, “Who has told you to polish my shoes? The soldier stuttered in fright. At this moment, the unit commander came and the soldier took a distance. Martyr Shirazi addressed the soldier and said, “From now on, everyone who asked you to polish his shoes, tell him that a soldier must polish his own shoes. I retold the story in the camp of Rahian-e Nour (the pilgrimage to the former battlefields during Saddam’s imposed war on Iran). Amir Heidari, the incumbent Commander of Ground Forces was also present. After the ceremony, he said, “Let me complete this memory". Amir Heidari continued, “The last mission of martyr Sayad Shirazi was in southern Iran. He was my professor in the Officers' Academy. I tried a lot to do everything for them and loved him very much. I was said that the general wanted to see you. As soon as I entered the room, I felt that he was angry. I asked, "General, did you want to see me?" He lifted his hand and said, "Heidari, you are a revolutionary man. I saw treatments from you which I don't like. Remember that these ranks are not the ranks of power, but they are the responsibility ones. You had ordered to polish my shoes. Neither polish someone's shoes, nor allow anyone to polish your shoes. You had asked several times to move my bag, neither move someone's bag, nor allow anyone to move your bag. You had said to open the car's door for me; neither open the door of a car for anyone, nor allow anyone to open the door for you."

Martyr Sayad Shirazi was the one who went to America under the Shah and spent the course of artillery ballistic. He was a pre-revolution officer whose wife wore Chador (Islamic dress). He had no furniture in his house until his martyrdom and this means simple living. I never remember that he punished his offspring except one time when Mehdi had driven a state car. When Haj Aqa found out, he slapped him in the face and said, "This is the last time that you move this car."

The house in which martyr Sayadi was living had been built on a land which had been given to him on the order of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) and for this reason, he spent part of his monthly salary as a charity. Any gift he received, he donated to the needy. I remember that Haj Aqa was given a hunting gun by the Interior Ministry; he donated it for the dowry of a bride. He was fasting on Mondays and Thursday of every week except when he was on a trip. One time in the month of Esfand (February-March), I asked Haj Aqa to eat pastry. He said he was fasting and could not eat. In response to my insistence on eating the pastry, he said he had restored three times all of his praying and fasting since the very beginning of becoming an adult (in terms of the religion of Islam).

One day, Hojjat-al Eslam Fatemi Nia said frankly that once martyr Sayad Shirazi had visited Ayatollah Baha'eddini, a distinguished Gnostic. When he came back, the ayatollah said this military clergy would be martyred one day. Mr. Fatemi Nia said that it was very strange for me that the war terminated and the Ayatollah passed away but Sayad Shorazi was not martyred; I said to myself all of the words of ayatollah came true, why didn't this one come true? When I was informed of the assassination of martyr Sayad Shirazi, I said: God is greater of that man and God is greater of this man.

One of the commanders said we were in Qom road at around 11 PM. Martyr Sayad Shirazi asked us to go to the house of Ayatollah Baha'eddini. I said it was late but he insisted. Finally we drove toward the house of Ayatollah Baha'eddini. We were some four or five. When we reached there and martyr Sayad Shirazi pressed the bell, the ayatollah was behind the door and opened it. He said that it seemed that you were waiting for us? The ayatollah replied, "Yes, the one who made you have a premonition to come to my house, also made me have a premonition to wait for you. In those years, I did not see as less as the number of the fingers of one of my hands that he abandoned his night praying. He always prayed on time and the thing he seemed correct, performed very well.

Brigadier General Vafaee was the commander of the engineering unit of Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC). He gathered and asked those who write well to collect the war memoirs.  We counted five great operations about which we did military and memory works, in other words we wrote engineering information about military issues. We met martyr Sayad Shirazi and he gathered the commanders of headquarters including misters Hossain Allah Karam, Abdolali Pour Shaseb and Sadeq Gooya. He held over six meetings for us; in a way that none of the commanders allocated this time and energy for it. Arm or IRGC made no difference for him; everybody said two divine divisions (army and IRGC) but he said one divine division.

Behrouz Emami retold his last memory about martyr Sayad Shirazi and said, "Martyr Sayad Shirazi had told me that we were not suppose to liberate Khorramshahr in Operation Beit-al Moqaddas; it was supposed to be blockaded fully and liberated in another operation. The army and IRGC commanders had been told that the Operation Beit-al Moqaddas would be carried out after Operation Fat'h-al Mobin so that the blockade was completed and then in another operation, Khorramshahr would be liberated. Since the operation started until some 72 hours later, none of us had slept. The blockade was not completed and nobody knew what to do. It was a hard situation. The attack on Khorramshahr started on the insistence of martyr Kharrazi. I asked him not to do this. He said I want to go and finish it, this is an exceptional opportunity. Mr. Rezaee said, "Mr. Sayad, let him go." I addressed Kharrazi and said, "We had no force to give you; be careful there is no force to back you, advance at least with Dasht Ban military deployment." Those who have taken part in the war are aware that Khorramshahr had three bulwarks or three lines for infiltration. Martyr Sayad Shirazi said, "The operation started and they could not enter the city and break the bulwarks." It was a very hard situation and they were very worried. I could not do anything and just started praying. After praying, it seemed as if I dreamt that a person with a luminous face. He had worn a black cloak and a green turban on his head. He came in. There was a light. I felt that I could not shake my body. He asked, "Sayad, what has happened? Are you tired?" I said, "I am very tired; it is three days that nobody has slept; the operation has been stopped, what should we do?" After saying this, he hugged me; he put my head on his heart, lifted me, and took me toward the door of the bastion slowly. When we reached there, I woke up and suddenly saw that it looked everybody had fainted. Martyr Kharrazi shouted from behind a portable transceiver, "We broke the line; we entered Khorramshahr." I shouted, "God is greater, God is greater, get up! The line was broken."

The 279th part from the series “The Night of Memory” was held on Thursday evening 27th of April 2017 in Sooreh Hall of the Art Center. It was organized by the Center for Studies and Research of Resistance Culture and Literature. The next show will be held on 25th of May 2017.

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