The Narration of Seyyed Yahya Safavi

"From Sanandaj to Khorramshahr"

Oral history of Sacred Defense

Reyhaneh Mohammadi
Transalted: Fazel Shirzad


"From Sanandaj to Khorramshahr "is the title of the first volume of the book of narration of Seyyed Yahya (Rahim) Safavi about the history of sacred defense, which was published by the Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center in 2018 by the late Dr. Hossein Ardestani. The book includes 28 conversations with the Sacred Defense’s Commander, which includes his birth until the end of Beit-ol-Moqaddas operation and the liberatiaon of Khorramshahr. In these conversations, a brief look is taken at his personal, social and political life. Maj. Gen. Dr. Seyyed Yahya (Rahim) Safavi was born into a religious and traditional family from the middle class of Isfahan. After entering Tabriz University, his social activities expanded and his presence among the passionate and religious youth who, in addition to educating, sought their demands, and it gradually helped to mature his identity and personality. After educating and entering in military service and serving in the 55th Airforce Brigade of Shiraz, his military knowledge were also upgraded. During the revolution, Safavi, along with other revolutionaries, worked against the Pahlavi regime, including being injured by a shotgun in Tabriz on February 19, 1977, SAVAK[1]’s forces attacking his father's house, arresting his brothers and escaping to Syria, Lebanon and France, returning to Iran, and  having  role in capturing the SAVAK building in Isfahan.

Playing a role in controlling the event of Kurdistan[2] showed his ability to achieve command. He appeared in Khuzestan[3] in the early days of the Ba'ath party's invasion against Iran and played an influential role at the shortest distance from the battlefield. In Ahvaz, with the help of Hassan Bagheri and Gholam-Ali Rashid, he organized the defensive lines and commanded the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and Basij[4] forces in the limited operations of the first year of the war. After the removal of Bani Sadr, Safavi and other senior commanders planned and carried out five operations during the liberation of Khorramshahr[5], in each of which the commander was one of the main points. Due to Rahim Safavi's planing and commanding power, he was given the responsibility of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps' general operations.

In the first session of dialogue, general Safavi spoke about his childhood and adolescence and then described his student, military and revolutionary struggles. His activities after the revolution before leaving for Kurdistan, such as the formation of the Urban Defense Committee and the establishment of the Isfahan Corps, are other issues raised in this section. In the next meeting, Safavi spoke about his activities from February 1978 to April 1980 and explained his role to end the event of Kurdistan. In this regard, the topics of the third to seventh sessions of this book include explaining the situation of Sanandaj city and the counter-revolutionary situation and the revolutionary forces in it, commanding the airport area, planning the liberation of Sanandaj with Sayad Shirazi and Mohammad Boroujerdi, how to liberate Sanandaj, forming the coordinative headquarters between the army and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps in Kurdistan and providing services to the people, Appling counter-revolution in torture Fighters and moral issues among political groups, especially Kurdistan Democratic Party and Komala Party.

In the continuation of the book, Major General Safavid deals with the issue of Iraq's invasion of Iran and describes the process of convening a meeting of the Supreme Council of Defense with the presence of Bani Sadr and commanders such as Sayad Shirazi, Boroujerdi, Kazemi and Lotfian. The ninth session of the book also was about Iraq's intentions for war and how far it wanted to go in Iran. The tenth session of the book is about the role of the book's narrator in the Darkhovin area. In this meeting, he describes the situation of the southern front during his tenure as commander of the southern operations headquarters, Iraq's entry into Iran and the presence of the Iraqi army in Khuzestan. Also, the discussion about the Southern Operations Headquarters and the role of the Safavi as commander is the subject of the 11th session of the talks.

The subject of the twelfth session of the book is about the command of fronts in the first year of war and various maps in this field. After that, the actions and activities of Ayatollah Khamenei on the warfronts, as well as the command of Bani Sadr, who was the president and commander-in-chief in the first year of the war, are described. In the following, it is discussed about the limited operations of Iran in the first year of war before the liberation phase such as the area of Shush, north of Abadan and Susangard.

Operation Samen-ol-A'emeh to break the siege of Abadan is the subject of two sessions of book talks in which general Safavi spoke about the process to approve the plan of this operation and said that this plan was prepared under the effort of Gholam Ali Rashid and Hassan Bagheri and him, and it is approved in High Council of Defense. In the next two sessions of book, there will be a discussion on how to form and implement Tarigh al-Ghuds operation. In the next three sessions, general Safavi spoke about the evolution of the Corps before the Fatah al-Mubin operation, and in the next three sessions, he spoke about the key role of the Fatah camp in the fate of the Fatah al-Mubin operation and the characteristics of this operation and its spiritual and material factors.

The topic of the 23rd session of the book is about the situation on the fronts between the two operations in Fatah al-Mubin and Beit al-Mogadas, the comparison of organizational power between Iran and Iraq and the balance between the two, and the position of the Beit-ol-Moqaddas operation in Iran's military strategy. In this regard, the military capability of Iran and Iraq in Operation Beit al-Mogadas, the plan of operation, how to carry out the operation and its stages, as well as the factors affecting the conquest of Khorramshahr were discussed in in the next meetings as well. The 28th session concludes a series of bitter and sweet memories of Operation Beit al-Mogadas, an understanding of the liberation of Khorramshahr with a historical perspective, military achievements and the few results of Operation Beit al-Mogadas, and the narrator's summary of the first two years of the war.

The book "From Sanandaj to Khorramshahr" with 632 pages, the number of one thousand copies for the price of 50,000 Toman[6] has been provided to researchers and those who interested in the field of oral history of sacred defense.


[1] It was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Israeli Mossad.

[2] Kurdistan Province or Kordistan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran

[3] Khuzestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian   Gulf. Its capital is Ahvaz.

[4] Iranian volunteer soldiers

[5]It is a city in and the capital of Khorramshahr County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2016 census. Khorramshahr is an inland port city located approximately 10 kilometres north of Abadan. 

[6] Iranian currency

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