It was raised at the 21th Night of Memory in East Azerbaijan:

When Saddam ordered withdrawal from Khorramshahr

Maryam Asadi Jafar
Translated: Fazel Shirzad


Amir Farivar Jafari, at the 21th Night of Memory's ceremony of the East Azarbaijan’s Art Center, said: "Considering the eavesdropping, Saddam used to order withdrawal during the conquest of Khorramshahr by Iranian forces. For about 25 to 30 days, Saddam insisted that those who retreated should be shot and killed He had given all his commanders this power. In such a situation, Saddam, who called himself as a general of Qadisiyyah[1], ordered withdrawal".

According to Iranian Oral History Website, the 21st night of Memory was held online on Saturday, May 23, 2020, by the East Azarbaijan’s Art Center on the Aparat website. In this program, "Amir Farivar Jafari" and "Colonel Yousef Ramjoo" expressed their memories of the Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas and the liberation of Khorramshahr.

First, Amir Farivar Jafari stated that the conquest of Khorramshahr was not the conquest of a land; rather, it was the conquest of high human and Islamic values. He began by discussing how Iraq invaded our country: "The Iraqi government felt that there was a series of instability in the armed forces due to the confusion that arose in the early days of the Islamic Revolution." he added: "Iraq wanted to take advantage of this weakness and it took action throughout borders; its initial decision was to conquer Khorramshahr, Because Iraq considered Khorramshahr as a key to conquer Khuzestan province.  

Amir Jafari continued his speech as follows: "After 34 days of conflict and fierce resistance of Khorramshahr’s people and military units that settled in there, finally the forces in the city were unfortunately forced to report the fall of Khorramshahr to Imam Rezvanullah with thousands of sorrows and regrets. During the day, Khorramshahr was named "Bloody and Uprising City". At that time, the government of Islamic Republic was forced to stop the Iraqi war machine, and then start active defense and prepare itself for an attack on the enemy, and finally conduct a reciprocal operation to destroy the enemy forces."

Jafari further stated: "One of the best strategies of the Islamic Republic of Iran was the Fatah al-Mubin operation, which can be called Fatah al-Futuh[2]. Immediately after the Fatah al-Mubin operation, it was decided that the operation to liberate Khorramshahr would take place after 566 days, as Iraqi forces were in a state of confusion and forced to flee our borders. After the decisions were made, there were a number of shortcomings in the information. Due to the problems around Khorramshahr, the commanders of the time decided to take an aerial photo of the entire Khorramshahr region. One of the major obstacles in that area was the presence of "Karkhehkor", "Karun River", "Arvand River" and "Hoor al-Azim or Horalhavizeh".

Amir Farivar Jafari continued: "After 566 days when the forces occupied the Iraqi armed forces in Khorramshahr, they had built very strong bulwarks using our available equipment in the ports and customs of Khorramshahr. Even the beams had been planted there, like trees, around it, to keep away enemy's air forces wanted to land. Received information and news indicated there are dams inside the canals every few kilometers around Khorramshahr that are connected to electricity and the inside of canals is full of bitumen and has been mined. This was one of the few reasons that delayed the operation; therefore, the Iranian pilot of Air Force took aerial photographs based on the decisions made, we came to the conclusion in the interpretations of aerial photographs,  that all these advertisements were false and they were not real.

He added: "At a distance of 3 km, there were  three canals, which were filled with circular barbed wire and anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle and tanks." After these issues, operation finally began with 4 garrisons of Fatah, Fajr, Nasr and Quds, with a combination of fighters of Army of Islamic Republic of Iran, Basij (volunteer soldiers) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. I can say that it was the most coordinated and appropriate operation that began with a combination of these three people's forces. Since the presence of defense on the river bank and the capture of bridges is very important in tactical operations, it can be said that it rarely leads to this positive result. In spite of all obstacles, thank God, our forces were able to overcome all three or four obstacles by taking several bridges.

Amir Jafari added: "We were members of artillery unit that had a general mission to fire, with Katyusha[3] units, the whole region and wherever the high-ranking commanders wanted." Given the concentration of fire and the firepower of the Katyusha units, and fortunately there were no ammunition restrictions at the time, we carried out the fire with full force on the orders of commanders and with what the observers announced. We have reached the last two or three days when we are very tired and we have had so many insomnia. Due to the fact that the area was completely flat, our spectators moved almost on foot along pedestrian units. Observers reported that a force of 700 to 800 men from our units were joining us; we moved with them and want to fire there. As we were firing, I suddenly saw a radio operator and the observer say:" "What do we do?" I was shocked for this question. I told him whether we are surrounded or not. I replied him:"Tell me more clearly!" what you want to say?" He replied: "As the matter of fact, enemy's helicopter came over our heads and was completely confuse. It threw something  on our heads; we shot and it went away. We also fired and it went off, But what do we do with the rest?" I said: "What's wrong?" he said: "sir, as far as I can see, more than 10,000 forces of enemy raised their hands and say:" We are with Khomeini!" what should we do? We are few in number. How can we take these force?"

We were a little distracted, and were overjoyed. Considering all this multitude of the enemy's forces, in front of 700 or 800 Iranian forces, what a nice conquest has been achieved by our fighters.

Amir Farivar Jafari continued his speech as follows:" After this incident, which took a long time and the conquest of Khorramshahr ended, Imam Khomeini heared the news that the local forces were now consolidating their positions inside Khorramshahr. Imam (ra) said that "God liberated Khorramshahr". Imam Khomeini's words there reminded me that this power was an eternal divine power that 700-800 soldiers were able to defeat against 35,000  soldiers of enemy had made positions for themselves for more than 566 days. Interestingly, considering  the eavesdropping on enemy's activities , Saddam ordered withdrawal at that time. However, for about 25 to 30 days, Saddam insisted to kill everyone wanted to retreat. He had given all his commanders this power to kill. Under such circumstances, Saddam said retreat. After this order, no one could escape. We announced that there was no way to escape; we close all ways. We had 19,500 to 20,000 prisoners. Later we found an interesting statistics for the numbers of the injured and killed forces. Most Iraqi forces, i.e. more than 50 percent, were killed and some armored units and armies were destroyed in mostly 100 percent. At last, Saddam ( as he called himself the general  of Qādisiyyah) ordered: " Hero is one who can retreat."

Then, "Colonel Yousef Ramjoo" recalled the dear ones who accompanied him in the proud operation "Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas" and recounted his memories of the operation: "It was about one month after Fatah ol-Mubin operation, operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas began and I was stationed in battalion "Martyr Madani" in Susangard with the comrades who was from Tabriz and was ready for the operation. When the time foretold came, we moved to Rufia. For some reason, the operation did not start from there and we returned and got into the cars and headed for Ahvaz. We were stationed there with the battalion's forces, and the operation began on the morning of 30th April.

He added: "We merged with our military comrades and moved towards Khorramshahr." The mission assigned to our battalion was on the way to Shalamcheh, where the Iraqis had built a stronghold. We were stationed at the fort when one of the fighters, whom I don't remember exactly, went to them with an RPG and started firing each of their tanks. In the meantime, the Iraqis withdrew from the situation and failed in counterattack. Later, we headed for the fish farm in front of us and continued our operation. We were in the road of Shalamcheh area and Kotsovari police station.

Ramjoo went on to say: In our battalion, there were some comrades that we honored their names here: Martyr Nasser Dastgireh Saz and Martyr Seyyed Hassan Shakoori that their absence is felt. The commander of our company, Martyr Seyyed Hassan Shakoori, commanded us towards Shalamcheh and we made progress, but the Iraqi forces also put a lot of pressure, but on the other hand, God was behind and protector of Islamic fighters that we were able to reach the border of Shalamcheh. The area where we were stationed was right in front of the Iraqi Kotsavari police station. For a moment, we realized that we were being shot from behind. There we realized that we were under siege by Iraqi forces. Our battalion's commander, by his ability in managing, quickly moved us to the back of the line they were had just fired. We arrived and stationed in that area. We were stationed there for a few days, after that time there were again progresses towards Iraqi petrochemicals. We were there for a few days, and on the 23rd of May, the news of Khorramshahr liberation was announced by radio, and the march of happiness and victory of the Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas was announced too.

Colonel Ramjoo added: I was not more than 20 years old when I took part in this operation. Shalamcheh was a way where the fighters of the Shahid Madani Battalion were stationed in there until the end of Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas. Due to the large number of captured Iraqis, we were present in Shalamcheh until the full deployment of fighting forces.


[1] It is a historical city in southern Mesopotamia, southwest of al-Hillah and al-Kūfah in Iraq. It is most famous as the site of the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in c. 636, which saw a force of Arab-Muslim invaders defeat a larger army sent by the Sasanian Empire. 

[2] Great victory

[3] It is a multi-role rocket that was first built in the Soviet Union and was widely used in World War II.

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