The 323rd Night of Memory -1

Each Iranian Officer Memoirs Can be an Independent Book

Compiled: Oral History Website
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: The 323rd Night of Memory program was held online on the Instagram of Art Centers’ Night of Memory on Thursday, 22nd of April in 2021. Hossein Behzadi was in charge of performing this program, in which Colonel "Ahmad Heidari" and Ms. "Zahra Panahi" shared their memories.

The first guest of this Night of Memory was Colonel Ahmad Heidari. He began his speech by congratulating the 18th of April, the Army Day of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and said: "Memoirs related to each of brave and proud Iranian officers can be an independent book; one of these great officers is Amir Azarfar, who had trained many army commandos. There are heights in Iraq that are named 2519 Heights. In 1983, these heights were occupied by Iranian forces, and in 1686, Iraq recaptured these heights from us. It was in the summer of 1986 in the heat of August that Iranian forces tried to retake the heights but were unable to do so. When Amir Azarfar became the commander of the 64th Infantry Division of Urmia in the same year, he formed a battalion of elite soldiers under the command of the late Khosrow Adamnejad. These people practiced for a long time every night and attacked the same heights on a trial basis to prepare for the main attack.

Colonel Heidari continued: "Finally, this battalion crossed the front line in the winter of 1986, destroyed the Iraqi guards, and went line by line until the target was finally captured. The operation targeted six bases at the top of the plateau. When five bases were captured, Hajj Ahmad Khomeini called the front and after talking to Azarfar, he told him that Imam wanted to talk to you. One of the characteristics of Azarfar is that he is a very honest person; When the Imam spoke to him, he prayed for them and said that since the code-name of your operations is Imam Ali (PBUH), he will protect and help you."

The narrator continued: "This honesty came to the aid of General Azarfar at the end of the war, in 1988. After the adoption of Resolution 598 and the acceptance of peace, Iraq invaded intending to retake the 2519 Heights, but Azarfar did not withdraw his army. Many officials told him to go back, but he refused. When he was told that this was your rebellion, he said:" I do not cancel the order, I took the order, but it is up to me to decide when I have to execute it tactically, and because my forces must return safely; I'm responsible for the taking decision. After the adoption of the resolution, the enemy used this opportunity and hit us in many parts of the front, capturing or martyring many Iranian forces."

After the adoption of the resolution, the enemy used this opportunity and hit us in many parts of the front, capturing or martyring many Iranian forces. After the adoption of the resolution, the enemy used this opportunity and hit us in many parts of the front, capturing or martyring many Iranian forces. Some tried to use Azarfar against him and file a lawsuit against him to overturn the order, but many high-ranking officials who knew his honesty prevented him from doing so.

Heidari continued: "When he and his forces retreated, they had also killed 60 enemy soldiers in the attacks that had taken place. Then forces had shrouded the 60 with full respect, and when the Red Cross’ officials saw the scene, they told each other that this group's success was due to their perspective; they respected well to the enemy's casualties. After the ceasefire, when the commander of the Iraqi army sees that the corpses of their forces have been shrouded in this respect, he says to Amir Azarfar: I am proud that my army was defeated by your army."

The narrator continued: "When we talk about the bravery of the Iranian forces in the war, the commanders were paid attention more; the soldiers were neglected in the meantime." One of these heroes is a person named Lieutenant Abdul Hamid Enshaei. The heights of Shiakuh were a sensitive area that due to its dominance in Qasr Shirin from three directions if it fell into the hands of the enemy, the enemy would be able to fire Gilan-e-Gharb. Ba'athist forces were trying to seize the area from Iranian forces, and one of the mortar watchers in the area was Abdul Hamid Enshaei. By the time that he was sending the enemy’s situation to artillery, the enemy pressure was increasing and it was very difficult to defend the area. The sound of Enshaei in wireless was mingled with the sound of a mortar whistle, and it could be found that the mortar had landed near him. After a few minutes when he regained consciousness, he resumed his work, but due to the severity of his injuries and severe bleeding, his ability was gradually disappeared. In his last sentence on the radio, he says: "Tell my mother and the Imam that the mountain Shiakuh trembled, but did I did not tremble. That is, I fought against the enemy in the fire made by the Nimrod, with peace of mind until the last moment of my life."

Colonel Heidari continued: We have another soldier named Seyyed Mehdi Saber Hamishegi who was born in Siah Koocheh village of Ashrafieh threshold. In one of the enemy infiltrations, it was captured on the front line and an ambush.

Colonel Heidari continued: "We have another soldier named Seyyed Mehdi Saber Hamishegi who was born in Siah Koocheh village of Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh. In one of the enemy attacks, it was captured on the front line and an ambush. The soldier went to his commander, Amir Hossein Yassini, and said that he would release this stronghold. The commander asked him how he wanted to do this, and he responded that he would use a shotgun. The commander allowed him and told: "Seyyed Mehdi when you want to cross the canal, be careful that the enemy was not at the head of the canal and they do not hit you."He responded: "Sir, I do not go through the canal, I move through the canal." The commander asked in surprise why?" He replied: "It is true that the bodies of the Iraqis have fallen into the canal, but the bodies of our martyrs are also in that canal, and I will not walk on the bodies of these martyrs." He picked up the rifle started firing at the enemy; the rest of the battalion also got excited, fired at the enemy- while saying Takbir [i] - and causing them to retreat. When they reached the bulwark, unfortunately, three meters away from the bulwark, one of the enemies fired at Seyyed Mehdi and martyred him."

The narrator continued his speech by recalling the time of his captivity and said: "After I was captured, on March 15, 1988, we were taken to visit the cities of Najaf and Karbala. We were the second group to leave the camp for pilgrimage. I went to the bathroom early in the morning for the pilgrimage bath, when I did not notice the wire that was tied between the two pillars, which caused my face to be injured, and they had to suture the wounds.

My friends and I, who were with me, were the last people to get on the bus. When the bus started moving, a fast-paced Arabic song was playing. Before we got on, the driver's assistants asked who could sing among you, and everyone said Ahmad Heidari. When we got on, he came to me and said that you should sing with a song and I did not accept and said that I only read the Quran. He was also forced to interrupt the song and started playing a Quran tape from Manshawi."

Heidari continued: "When we arrived in Najaf, it started to rain, and honestly I felt that Ali's innocence was still felt. After the pilgrimage on the way from Najaf to Karbala, because everyone was tired, I got on the back of the bus, sat behind the driver, and took the microphone, and with four Iraqi armed guards and two intelligence officers who were monitoring the situation. I first recited the Qur'an for a while and then recited a poem for Imam Ali (PBUH) that began with this verse:

O mosque Kufa, be Witness on the Day of Judgment!

I'm the most oppressed although I'm the most innocent.

When I recited the Qur'an, the Iraqis said to me, "Excellent Manshawi!" And when I read this poem, I was told: "Excellent Ahangaran!" After that, one of the Iraqis gave me a piece of paper with four pages of all the verses of the Qur'an started with "O God!" And asked me to read them as well, which I did not accept, and asked him to do it himself. He began to read Qur'an, and the children all said amen after each prayer. The atmosphere was such that when we reached each Iraqi military police, he would hide the microphone and resume reading after passing them. Quoted from Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Colonel Heidari ended his speech by saying that the prayers of the people were finally effective and the Iranian prisoners were released. The narrator showed one of the pictures of his arrival in Boroujerd city and said: "We were the last people who were released and we had sweet memories of being welcomed by our family and people."


To be continued…


[i]  It means "Allah is the greatest"; a common Arabic expression, used in various contexts by Muslims

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