The day when Abadan became happy

Breaking the siege in 9 hours

Elham Saleh
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The city was in siege for one year. It was not a living thing, but did not tolerate captivity like living creatures. The breath of Abadan had almost stopped over the coming of Saddam's army forces. They were unhappy of putting their feet on the ground; this unhappiness started on 11th of October 1980 when Abadan was on the verge of captivity. There are written resources about that time one of which is Pares News Agency (current IRNA). About Abadan, it had written, "The Iraqi aggressive forces who were destroyed by Iranian forces on 27th of September 1981 were the aggressors who on 11th of October 1980 advanced toward the village of Mared 17 kilometers north of Abadan through the blockade of Khorramshahr and installing a bridge over Karoun River. they martyred a number of Arab fellow countrymen and took as captives a number of others in Mared village."

In this way, the Saddam's army entered Abadan, but they could not stay there forever, they had to leave. Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) had emphasized on breaking the Abadan siege, underlining this to the country's officials and war commanders. Lieutenant General Ali Sayad Shirazi has a quotation in this regard, "Mr. Davood Karimi, a member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had said: I visited the Imam to tell him that we suffer casualties in Abadan front on a daily basis and have no hope of victory let alone breaking the siege. Then, I asked him his opinion in this regard. The Imam said in one sentence, "Abadan siege must be broken."

Imam Khomeini as the commander-in-chief stressed that the most important concern of the forces involved in the war should be Abadan. The grounds were provided and army and IRGC forces were coordinated together for liberation of Abadan. The issue is one of the memories of Lieutenant General Sayad Shirazi, "It was reported in IRGC High Council that we were able to attack from three axes. But, the required facilities were some five thousand Basij (volunteer) forces that should be prepared. The army should also use artillery; the 120mm mortars should also be used at maximum and …this plan was almost unanimously approved by the council… the army and IRGC forces were gathered in the headquarters of the 77th Division of Khorasan easily. The coordination was carried out and it was said that the operation would start from Darkhowein and Fayazieh."

The operation was named as "Samen al-A'emmeh (AS)". Codenamed as "Nasro Menallah va Fat'hon Gharib", the operation started on 27th of September 1981 and continued one day after that. The aim was to break the Abadan siege and liberation of the grounds in eastern Karoun. The Iranian forces achieved the goal very soon in so much as it is evident in the memoirs of Lieutenant General Sayad Shirazi, "We were in northwestern area of the country when we heard that the operation began; Operation Samen al-A'emmeh (AS). I think it did not take more than 9 hours. It started from the midnight and terminated at ten or eleven AM."

The result of the operation was astonishing; more than 10 kilometers of Iranian soil was recovered by the combatant forces. The Iraqis were completely driven back to the northern part of Shadegan and the eastern Karoun. The Ghassaba Bridge, which was located on the Karoun River, was destroyed, and Haffar Bridge, the second bridge of the Iraqi army was captured by Iran's forces. The forces of Saddam's army were cleaned off the Abadan-Mahshahr road, and their embankment between station 7 and station 12 of Abadan was seized by Iranian forces.

On 27th of September 1981, the people of Abadan were seeing that the sky of their city was covered with a strong cloud of smoke. Ayatollah Gholamhossein Jami, the then Friday prayer leader of Abadan was also present in the city and saw the smoke, "At the same time, I am not sure but one or two regiments of Iraqi fighter jets bombed part of Ahmadabad the wave of which shook around us too. But the situation is in a way that nobody thinks of the bombardments … everybody is happy of the victory and the roaring of friendly cannons, tanks, airplanes and helicopters, make Abadan such a lightning scene that it does not allow us to fear of bombing. Army and IRGC vehicle and other vehicles of the organizations were going back and forth in the city with lights on as a sign of victory."

Abadan had been liberated, but the fighter jects of the Saddam's army continued their efforts desperately. Ayatollah Jami witnessed the event, "The Iraqi jetfighters are trying diligently to respond to the Iraqi Ba'ath scandalous defeat. They do not dare to appear on the fronts, they attack the city of Abadan, but they are faced with a huge anti-air fire of the forces of the Islamic Republic and escape."

The equipped enemy penetrated Abadan for more than a year and the city had its signs; the ground had been destroyed and the utility poles had been cut off, the pipes between Abadan and Mahshahr were cut and even the asphalt of the road had been dug off and ... Ayatollah Jami who witnessed the events directly   says in his memoirs, "With all of these facilities, they left everything and escaped in the night of the attack. They even left their shoes. This desert and these trenches are now full of warfare ammunitions; the intact boxes of guns and mortars, many Kalashnikov rifles and all types of weapons that the IRGC and military brothers are collecting."

The Saddam's army was defeated and the Operation Samen al-A'emmeh (AS) triumphed. This victory both liberated part of Iran and caused to boost the morale of the combatant forces. According to Lieutenant General Sayad Shirazi, the Iraqis tried to justify the failure unbelievably in any way, "The enemy did not still believe that we could attack again. It had justified the Operation Samen al-A'emmeh (AS) that it was an operation in eastern Karoun, there was water behind the enemy and considered it exceptional. The enemy did not believe that we could attack."

A wave of joy went on in Abadan on 27th of September 1981, and Ayatollah Jami wrote, "Nothing but the thought of the great victory and the historical defeat of the Iraqi army in Abadan front was not in mind and everybody thinks about how large the victory has been and how many Iraqis have been killed. How many Iraqis have been taken as captives? According to the radio news, some five hundred Iraqis have been killed and one thousand others captured and the eastern Karoun has been purged of the Iraqis."

Abadan became happy after one year. 

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