Interview with Brigadier General Farzollah Shahin-Rad


Interviewed by: Zahra Abu-Ali
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: We were supposed to experience a hot summer day at seven o'clock in the afternoon. I got to his house in ten minutes to seven, but I knew that working with the militant had special rules. One of them is punctuality. I went up and down the alley several times to meet this Ironman at his house. When I saw him from afar at military conferences, his sense of toughness was evident in demeanor.

At seven o'clock, I rang the doorbell. I was warmly welcomed by the Brigadier General and his noble wife. Brigadier General Farzollah Shahin-Rad is a retired member of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has a hundred months of experience in the war fronts.  Also, he had been attended several operations such as the 25th of October 1981 (as the commander of the 144th Battalion), Fath al-Mubin (commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 21st Division of Hamza), Beit al-Muqaddas (Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 21st Division), Dawn 2 (the operational deputy of the 64th Division), Qader (the operational deputy of the 21st Division) Dawn 8 (the operational deputy of the 21st Division), (21st Division Command), etc. After the end of the war, he held responsibilities such as Deputy Chief of Operations Intelligence of the Army, Commander of the Staff Command College, and Head of the Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. He is currently one of the honorary members of the Sayad Shirazi War Education Board. He has received 2nd and 3rd-degree medals due to his services in the war.

Sir, First of all, I thank you to welcome me to your house. Please introduce yourself, and say, where are you from originally? And, in what family and environment did you grow up?

I am Farzollah Shahin-Rad. I was born in 1938 in Samghavar village of Arak city in a farming family. At the age of six, I went to the village school, where I learned [to read] Qur'an well.

Do you remember what the name of your villageۥs clergyman was?

[Yes.] Mirza Azdullah

Was there school in your village?

Yes. Our village had [a school] with the classes for the third grades. We had to go to Arak city to continue our education, but our living conditions were such that I had to stay in the village and work on the farm with my father. Due to the economic situation of the family, I had to work on the lands, because we were a big family. When I was eighteen years old, I was called to Tehran to serve in military under flag.


In 1958, I went to military service. At the end of the taking training course, I felt successful when Colonel Hassan, the commander of the Ishratabad garrison training center, installed my rank on my shoulders. At that moment, a spark ignited in my heart to be an officer and militant and wear military uniforms. That's why I was looking for a way to enter the world of militarism.

You studied until [you reached] the third grade. How did you get involved in the army?

I found out that soldiers with a sixth-grade elementary level would be sent to a sergeant training course and would be promoted to the rank of the third sergeant after completing a course; I took the training course and looked for opportunities I had missed. During that course, after obtaining the best military scores, I was honored to receive the blue armband, as the best student, from Commander Majidi, the commander of the Central Division, and I finished my two-year service with the rank of the third sergeant in the Naderi brigade.

■Did you go back to the village?

Yes. I went back and told my family that I had decided to join the army.

■Considering you need to help your father, did your family accept it?

No. My younger brother was soon able to help my father in agriculture.

What did you do after completing your military service?

At the end of the military service, I was informed that the army parachute battalion was recruiting new forces in the Shah garden. I also passed the training course successfully and received the parachuting rank in Jump Field.

I enrolled in a night school while serving in the parachute battalion. In 1966, I got a diploma in mathematics, and in the same year, I participated in the entrance exam of the officer's college and was accepted. To go to college, I need someone from the army commander had to confirm me. I went to General Majid and he signed the confirmation form of the faculty.

■Why did you choose the army?

Because I wanted to be a commander. Before the end of the college course in 1969, I and some students were recruited by the Imperial Guard and transferred to the Guard Training Center. I also took a rank from the Shah. At the end of the course, I was transferred to the combat unit of the 3rd Brigade, Reza Pahlavi, where I served as the commander of the 2nd Battalion. I was in the escort unit for a while until I was transferred to the 1st Imperial Guard Battalion and became the commander of the Arkan Regiment at Niavaran Palace.

■Who was the commander of the Imperial Guard?

Commander General Neshat

 ■How many children do you have?

 I have three children; a son, and two daughters. My son is a doctor and my eldest daughter has a master's degree in electricity from Amirkabir University and my youngest daughter has a degree in architecture and urban planning from Tarbiat Modares University.

Where were you when the revolution won?

We were at Niavaran Palace. We delivered our weapons to the arsenal. Air Force personnel escorted us by truck to house.

So, you were forced to stay house?

No. A few friends and I took care of a government-leased house.

■When did you return to the barracks?

We returned in March.

■Who was the commander?

Colonel Attarian.

■Where did you start?

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, I was appointed deputy commander of the 1st Battalion, which was numbered 106th Infantry Battalion, and participated in two peacekeeping missions in the western regions of the country.

■Which areas?

Cleaning of Piranshahr city in 1979, and establishing security on Kamyaran road in Sanandaj in Morne Morvarid area in 1980.

What was your position when the imposed war started and where were you?

I was in Sanandaj before the beginning of the imposed war, but when the war started, I returned to Tehran and became the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Brigade of the 21st Hamzeh Division.

■The same famous 144th Battalion?


■After this appointment, what mission was assigned to your battalion?

On the seventh day of October 1980, I was assigned to organize the 144th Battalion and go to Dezful. As the battalion commander, I could only barely collect half of the battalion's talent from the 06 Training Center, the 30th Gorgan Division, the committees, and the gendarmerie. It is interesting to say that when I took these forces to be sent to the railway, the railway announced that we do not have an empty platform and you must return. Anyway, When we had to return at 10 pm and after a delay of several hours, I was summoned and reprimanded until four in the morning, "Why did you return? "You should have stayed there!" Maybe you want to coup!

■What do you think was the reason for this disorder?

The army has a structure and hierarchy and is headed by someone, nothing happens until he gives the order. After the Niqab coup, the movement of a unit was banned. Displacement of the least force was also prohibited.

■With this situation, do you think the army went to war with all its might?

In my opinion, on the very first day of the war, the army was ready to fight and did what it had to do. On the 25th of October 1980, the 144th Battalion of the forces under my command fought and stood up against the heavy equipment of the enemy, to delay the enemy's entry into Iran for 48 hours. As a result, the 153rd Battalion was sent to the Abadan region and it prevented the fall of this city. However, these cases were not well explained to some who did not know the army, even though the army fighters had defended themselves so bravely in the face of the enemy, and the people were not aware of these sacrifices.

Sir, I would like to talk about the 25th of October 1980 and the 144th Battalion, which returned without force. In which area was this operation carried out? What was his mission? And who led the operation?

On the 25th of October 1980, in the Mahshahr-Abadan intersection from east to west, the 144th Battalion was formed and was led from Arvand operational base under the command of Colonel Forouzan. At dawn on the 25th of October, we attacked the enemy in a fierce and unequal battle. The operation lasted about 5 hours. Our advance in the heart of the enemy front was such that at first the enemy forces were surprised and we captured them, but the enemy forces, who were a brigade, fired so much against us that all the battalionsۥ fighters were martyred or severely wounded; The Iraqi prisoners who were among us were also killed. The deputy battalion, Capt. Mohammadi was captured, the commander of the 3rd Battalion, Major Kaveh, and three company commanders and two platoon commanders were martyred, as well as five other platoon commanders were wounded and we lost seven tanks. I was leading the operation on the road next to the oil pipelines. They also hit several tanks that came to our aid. The battalion suffered a lot of damage. I went back to the shelter of the oil pipes. At the camp, Colonel Forouzan and Commander Fallahi consoled me. They sent an ambulance to transport the wounded; The enemy also hit the ambulance. We returned at night and gathered about thirty or forty wounded and brought them back. We could not bring the martyrs back.

■What was the talent and ability of the enemy in front of you?

 In front of us were two armored battalions and a mechanized infantry battalion of the 3rd Ba'ath Division.

■How many of forces in battalion were martyred?

250 of our forces were martyred.

 ■What was the need for this operation? Was it worth all the losses?

This operation delayed the enemy's advance to besiege Abadan, and the 153rd Infantry Battalion of the 77th Division arrived in Abadan by sea and air to reinforce the Abadan forces. For this reason, on the 31st of October 1980, the Iraqi army entered Abadan through Bahmanshir (Bahmanshir River). The forces in the city were able to suppress them and push the enemy back four kilometers to Abadan's square Tir.

This martyrdom operation may have occurred less frequently in the history of the Sacred Defense. The enemy had to cover the distance from 2 November, two weeks after crossing Karun River, in less than two hours to reach Bahmanshir and then Arvandrud, for fear of ambush and siege until 30 September.

■Did not the army create an epic full of pride in the war?

Let me go back a little bit. In August 1979, we went to Piranshahr with the 106th Battalion. The late Zahirnejad was the commander of the 64th Division. Piranshahr was cleared of counter-revolutionaries. The 106th Battalion there, with the help of the IRGC, the Basij, the Gendarmerie, and the Committee, actually cleared the city and the region, along with a battalion from the 1st Division of the 64th Division. Two months later, with the rest of this battalion, we went to the Morvarid Pass of Sanandaj, and we were at the pass with all our might until the beginning of the war, and we kept the Morvarid Pass and the Sanandaj area of Kamyaran open.

Imagine the conditions under which a battalion was involved in these heavy missions, and at the beginning of the war, part of the same battalion merged with the 144th Battalion and no one returned from the 144th Battalion. Two divisions of the ground forces, of course, with the support of the air force and the air force, stopped the enemy within 800 kilometers of the bottlenecks, and none of them were martyred soldiers and officers. In my opinion, is named today. By sacrificing the army at the very beginning of the war, the enemy did not achieve any of its goals.

■The most important and largest service of the army in the eight years of sacred defense was that initial move, which was to stop the enemy. Iraq had a purpose, it came to this country with a purpose. He was looking for big goals. The Iraqi army had a designer and a theorist (strategist). What do you think caused the invading enemy to be caught in the deserts of Khuzestan, behind Karkheh and Karun in inappropriate positions?

As for the defense, I must first explain how the enemy could not fire all our sensitive points. In Andimeshk and other areas, only a few planes were shot down by Oerlikon air defense cannons, but this was not mentioned and revealed and they shot some enemy helicopters with 23 cannons, but nowhere it was mentioned. I salute the pure souls of the unknown warriors, especially our soldiers who went the fronts, keep the country, were wounded, some served for 27 to 30 months, and did not twit the people for their fighting, while many were and are right. I must add here that there are special plans in the army to protect the border and border areas. Until a few hours after the attack on the 31st of شهریور, when the enemy planes started bombing, we had no unit except the two 81st Armored Divisions of Kermanshah and the 92nd Armored Division of Khuzestan. The two divisions had strengthened the border checkpoints. We should know that a military unit is successful if it can stop the enemy at the border with all its military facilities, which we did not have. Naturally, a 2nd armored brigade of Dezful can not stand alone against the two mechanized armored divisions of Iraq, but the same police station and the same people stood up against the enemy and kept it at the border for 48 hours! The rest, who had gathered elsewhere, went and took the passage of the enemy. The Karun and Karkheh rivers enabled us to stand against the enemy with less force. These sacrifices lasted from the first day of the war until the seventh day. The force that did not allow Iraq to achieve its goals was the small number of soldiers and army officers at the borders, and this document is clear. The enemy, which wants to reach the target within 48 hours, is forced to stand against the small number of forces of the Iranian army for seven days; This is a fact. It was these forces that prevented the advance in the west and kept the enemy by the Arvand River for 28 days in Khorramshahr. These are [part of ] history and have a document. We are proud that the army stood up to the enemy to the last person; Enemy tanks passed over the corpses of our warriors. A battalion under my command sacrificed 450 martyrs to the revolution and the rest were wounded; The reason was that the infantry battalion in Sarpol was standing in front of five mechanized armored battalions of the enemy. We are proud that the army stood up to the enemy as much as possible; Enemy tanks passed over the corpses of our warriors. A battalion under my command gave 450 martyrs to the revolution and the rest were wounded; The reason was that the infantry battalion in Sarpol was standing in front of five mechanized armored battalions of the enemy.

■How long was your battalion deployed in Abadan?

The 144th Battalion was deployed in the Abadan region for about a year. We performed a few other limited operations; some were successful and some were unsuccessful.

Sir! Given that you suffered heavy casualties in that operation when you re-launched the battalion, it seems that your battalion forces were in a state of turmoil in Abadan and rebelled once. What was your plan to calm your battalion?

It was winter, and there was mud everywhere, and the battalions were in a state of turmoil because the bulwarks were not yet complete. The clothes, equipment and living equipment of the personnel were completely wet and the movement of cars was not possible. One day I was standing in front of bulwarks, part of which was filled with water. Some soldiers, dressed in mud, with their heads and faces covered with mud, and some of them with their trousers up, circled me, shouting and saying: "we cannot stay in the front with this situation. We are going to come back to the line after making the bulwark." I knew that last night's coldness and tiredness had made them unhappy. That's why I told them in a fatherly tone: "the rain has stopped, now it is sunny and the wet clothes and equipment are drying. Then we start making the bulwarks. On the other hand, we are at war and nothing can stop us from carrying out our mission. The soldiers' looked were such that they did not pay attention to my words and decided to take advantage of the situation.

I was silent for a moment, looking for words to make them jealous. As I was playing with red and sticky mud b my feet, I said: "You know that many soldiers were martyred; You must avenge their blood.

Some of them interrupted me and said recklessly: "You are a traitor! You want to kill us too, so you kept us under enemy artillery shells and you do not take care of us!"

I pointed angrily at the two soldiers and said loudly: "You fled the front twice, all these problems are from your plan. You are still making excuses to leave the area. As I walked towards them, I said: "You have provoked others! Then I separated them from the others and said: According to the law of wartime, you should be executed twice." Then I pulled out my rifle and fired two shots in front of their feet. The two, terrified and unable to run, retreated and fell into the mud after slipping.

The deputy commander of the 3rd Battalion, who was also in charge of the unit's logistics, came there. Seeing him, I left the two begging soldiers and turned to him and said:" you are weak and unable in your responsibility! Why didn't you provide the bulwarks? If you had a problem, why didn't you come to me? The deputy was speechless. While he maundered, he stepped back and even fell to the ground. All the soldiers had bipeds when they saw this scene, and they ran and stayed out of my sight.

I smiled and breathed out while I was watching the soldiers flee.

Then I sent the fourth officer to Arvand base to get some traverse for the roof of the bulwarks and some sacks and nylon.

It seems that for a long time, the soldiers who had an artistic sense played The Major and the Execution Soldiers, far from my eyes, for the laughter and as different activity.

■Where did your battalion settle after a year?

After the Abadan region, we moved to Dezful and joined the 21st Hamzeh Division. In the October of 1981, the great martyr Sayad Shirazi was appointed commander of the ground forces. In the new organization, I was appointed commander of the Second Brigade.

■ What was the brigade's first mission?

The first brigade operation was carried out on Hill 120 in the southeast of Abu Salibi Khat Heights. In this operation, the target was captured, but after three days, the hill resistance was recaptured by the enemy. The next operation of the brigade was to take part in the Fatah al-Mubin operation, in which we combined with the 27th Brigade of Muhammad Rasoolullah (PBUH) in the Nasr II organization. The third operation was Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas. We had success in both operations and I was injured in both operations; there were no serious injuries in Operation Fath al-Mubin and I did not leave the area, but in Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas, I was severely injured that I left the area of operation.

Why do you think the process of some operations, like the joint operations of the army and the IRGC, was not continued like those that took place in Samen ol-A'imah, Tariq al-Quds, Fath al-Mubin, and Beit ol-Moqaddas?

To clarify the situation, it is necessary to recount some things first. Operations Operation Samen-ol-A'emeh, Tariq al-Quds, Fath al-Mubin, and Beit al-Muqaddas were carried out with the cooperation of the IRGC and the army in the occupied territories by the enemy. At that time, the motivation of the manpower to fight and drive out the aggressor was very strong, that is, the sacred goal, which was not the same for the aggressor forces. Following the Beit al-Muqaddas operation, subsequent operations on Iraqi soil increased the motivation of Iraqi troops and raised the issue of resistance in terms of military prestige.

Until the end of Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas, world opinion did not have the assurance of victory for the Islamic Republic of Iran but later accepted that if they did not support Saddam, they would lose the war, which would affect the political, military, and economic situation in the region. There was a possibility that their interests in the region would be cut or reduced.

With the conditions created, the situation of the war changed in favor of Saddam after the end of the Beit ol-Moqaddas operation. Saddam, who had started the war with 12 divisions, had 52 organized divisions at the end of the war, while the Islamic Republic of Iran also had difficulty preparing destroyed equipment.

With the conditions created, the situation of the war changed in favor of Saddam after the end of the Beit ol-Moqaddas operation. Saddam, who had started the war with 12 divisions, had 52 organized divisions at the end of the war, while the Islamic Republic of Iran also had difficulty to prepare destroyed equipment.

■Did you return to the southern region and battles after discharge from the open hospital?

No, after being discharged from the hospital, I was transferred to Urmia as the successor of the 64th Division and participated in clearing the Mahabad, Sardasht, Mahabad, Pasveh, Sardasht and Qala-e-Dizeh area. In addition, I was active in establishing security in the province of West Azerbaijan within the responsibility of the division. I participated in Operation Dawn 2 in the Hajj Imran area. In 1983, according to the order of the Land Forces Command, I was sent to the Command and Staff College. After three months, I went to the southern region and stayed there until the end of the course. I was present in Operation Badr as a ground operations officer. After that, I became the deputy and operational deputy of the 21st Hamzah Division. I participated in Operation Qader and Operation Dawn 8. I was injured again in Operation Dawn 8.

The 8th Air Force and the Army Artillery Unit were present during Operation Valfajr. How do you assess the role of these forces in the progress and success of the IRGC operating forces?

Capturing the target is the first step in the battle, but maintaining it is more important. If we can not keep the goal, it is clear that the investment will be fruitless. In Operation Dawn 8, which led to the liberation of Al-Faw, IRGC forces captured the target as soon as possible, and this type of operation demonstrates the IRGC's capability. However, this target could not be maintained without the air support of the Air Force and the 16th Army Artillery Battalion, as it was more sensitive. Of course, in terms of military principles, this was a capital that was captured. This has been experienced in the modern armies of the world. Occupied Sarpol must either be developed in less than 48 hours or reach the main goal, otherwise, the Sarpol must be evacuated. The purpose of capturing Al-Faw was to reach the city of Basra. The enemy resisted the forces with all the casualties and did not allow them to advance. Finally, in a favorable situation, he recaptured Sarpol.

It can be said that Operation Dawn 8 was very effective politically and militarily in the beginning; The IRGC took over and the army supported, but it was not enough, that is, if the next step was taken, it was over, because it was done incompletely, the result would be the opposite so that eventually led the Imam to accept the resolution.

Sir, when did you become the commander of Hamza 21st Division?

In 1983, I became the commander of the 21st Hamzeh Division, and in 1989, I served as the Deputy for Intelligence and Operations of the Army. After that, I was the commander of the Command and Staff College for two years. In 1992, I was transferred to the General Staff of the Armed Forces and worked as the Head of the Operations Department in the Deputy for Information and Operations of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. I retired in June 1999.

When did you start your activity in the Teachings [Center] of General Ali Sayad Shirazi?

I have been an honorary member since the beginning of the war education activities of Martyr General Ali Sayad Shirazi and it continues to this day. Annually, I attend camp training for students of ground, air, and naval officer universities in the southern region. I participate in justifying the Rahian e-Nour Tour every year.

Sir, you are the man of the pen; tell us about your books!

I wrote the books of the 144th Battalion in the Battle of Abadan, the Brave Men of the Battle, the Great Victory, and the Book for Security. The book 144th Battalion in the Battle of Abadan has a certificate of appreciation from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The Brave Warriors have a plaque of appreciation in the eighth festival for selecting the best book of the Sacred Defense from the artistic field of the Islamic Propaganda Organization and the Foundation for the Preservation of Relics and the Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense.

Thanks for taking the time.

Good luck.

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