Excerpts from the memoirs of Ayatollah Abdullah Mahmoudi

The Beginning of the Iraqi Imposed War against Iran

Compiled by: Faezeh Sassanikhah
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


From the beginning of the imposed war to eight days after the start of the war, I kept my family at home with small children until I saw that it was not possible to stay in the city any longer because the enemy had crossed the border and fired constantly. I had to send them somewhere. So I sent them to Shiraz to go to Qom and I went to the traffic police myself. The traffic police was one of the gathering places of the forces, even the unarmed people. The Iraqis also entered the border and captured one of the villages and came close to Ahwaz’s road.

 We were planning in the traffic police when we found out that four Iraqi tanks had crossed the Khorramshahr-Ahwaz road and were still advancing. The weapons we had there included G3, sniper rifles, and pistols. The most important weapon of our forces was artillery. I felt there that I had to do something so that the other forces would get excited and resist, so I fired at the tanks with my pistol. At that time, because I was younger and in a good mood, I ran a few steps back and forth, and after that, other forces started firing. There was a bulwark in front of us and the comrades reached the bulwarks and targeted the tanks. When the Iraqis faced this scene, they did not fire and returned and retreated.

 That they did not shoot, I realized that maybe they were Shiites and did not want to target us; On the other hand, if only two bullets hit our bulwark, it would be a disaster. However, the tanks returned to the same road they had come from; That is, they went to the north of Ahvaz Road and crossed the train track. After the rail, there was a pit that had no water at the time but was muddy.

Two of the tanks got stuck in the mud and stayed. Its Iraqi soldiers disembarked from the tank and left the tanks. With this situation, our forces became more courageous and pursued the Iraqis. Even the border village was abandoned by the Iraqis and they retreated. That village was given to our forces. They even evacuated the Shalamcheh checkpoint. We about two hundred forces, some of whom were from the gendarmerie. Fortress garrison forces were not in the area.

It was an extreme conflict, and we took refuge in two- or three-floor buildings that were very sturdy. When our forces returned from the village and the Shalamcheh checkpoint, we installed the Iranian flag at the checkpoint, and ... I said that this would be effective if you were fortifying and staying there. On the other hand, regarding the two Iraqi tanks that were left in the mud, I told Colonel Razavi that if anyone can bring these two tanks, it is very good and we need them. Otherwise, you should destroy them so that they would not be captured by Iraqis again. Mr. Razavi, who was the commander of the regional war, said goodbye, but did not act on it; they did not bring the tanks, they did not destroy them, and at night the Iraqis took the tanks safe.

The Iraqis advanced again

During the night, the Iraqis advanced again a little further from the previous day. They continued to fire until about the 2nd of October, the Iraqis came from the groves and Arvand and captured part of the port. There was no one left in the port and customs. Everyone had left there. Only the popular forces sometimes barricaded themselves around the customs and confronted the Iraqis. Our forces were fighting the Iraqis with RPG 7 and G3 while they had modern weapons. About fifty or sixty students also joined and fought there.

The comrades continued to defend themselves so that the Iraqis would not advance and occupy the whole of Khorramshahr and take over all the ports and customs. The length of the port was about one kilometer and it was one of the most important ports in Iran and the customs was located next to the port where there were many goods in. There were cars to food and clothing and metals at the port and customs. We said that now that we could not move the goods, we should at least take the cars out and use them. There were all kinds of Iranian and foreign cars.

I wrote a letter, I issued a permit to two people stating that because the property left in the customs and the port of Khorramshahr was in danger and the Iraqis may seize it, so I will give them two missions as far as they could take the existing cars out of the port so that they should not be Iraqis. The two men, who was referring to, accepted and welcomed it despite the many problems and dangers. When they entered the port to bring the cars, Mr. Jahanara saw them and asked why they came here. They also show the letter to Mr. Jahanara, and he accepts it. But he said that today the situation is dangerous, wait until tomorrow to liberate the port, then you will take the cars. Both men returned with Mr. Jahanara's speech, but the next day and the day after, the issue was reversed. Instead of our forces liberating the port. The Iraqis occupied all the ports and customs and all the property and the goods and the cars.

The siege of Khorramshahr gradually became tighter, because customs and the port were connected to the city, and on the other hand, the organizational buildings, which were 500 meters away from the city, were also occupied by the Iraqis. On the other hand, the bridge and the mortuary, which was about one kilometer away from the city, were captured by the Iraqis. Our forces were defending Khorramshahr inside the city and were not present outside the city and were at the gates of the city at most. During this period, no matter how much we asked for help and manpower to strengthen our forces; there was no news of help.

Bani Sadr had come to Ahwaz at that time, we sent two people to go to Ahwaz and meet with Bani Sadr and tell him to give us at least a few cannons and mortars. Bani Sadr also replied that he couldn’t send cannons and mortars whenever we want. Our friends also returned without any equipment. Isfahan Artillery, which was also very famous, had gone to Khorramshahr to defend Khorramshahr and prevent it from falling, but this artillery had stopped near Shadegan, which was fifty or sixty kilometers away from Khorramshahr, and they had been told that it was not advisable to go further. We went and talked to the artillery commander and said, "Why did you come here?" we said, "We came to defend Khorramshahr, why do not you come to Khorramshahr? Khorramshahr is under siege and near to fall," he said. "What can we do if we are not allowed?" They were assured to say that Bani Sadr did not allow it. The fortress barracks, which had only eight tanks, was hidden in the groves. When we told them why they were not using the tanks, they said they were broken. We did not have the expertise and did not know whether they were telling the truth or lying. Some may say that the infiltrators wanted to disrupt the defense, but I believe that is not the case and there were no infiltrators. Of course, as I said, it was a betrayal by Bani Sadr, but the forces were discouraged by the order coming from above, and they had no equipment and considered themselves weak, so they said, what can we do against the enemy who has so much equipment and facilities?"

However, Khorramshahr was besieged in all respects. The Iraqis also attacked from the east using a large number of tanks and arrived at the bank of the river, which was in front of the fortress barracks. There was no infantry here, only tanks coming close to the river. If we had a hundred troops there, the Iraqis would not be able to cross the river and cross the Karun River. It was at this point where the siege of Abadan was formed. They passed about a hundred tanks across the bridge.

We were informed that the Iraqis had crossed the river and settled in the area where the center of the pasteurized milk was. Their presence at this point ended to the detriment of Abadan and took some of Abadan's breath away. It was the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the war that they entered the city from the northern point; that is, Shalamcheh. They entered the railway square through the new bridge and mortuary and then entered Santab Street to reach the customs.

In this area, our forces were sacrificed. They destroyed some Iraqi tanks with RPGs, and some Iraqis were killed, so they were forced to retreat and return to the New Bridge. I wanted to go to Sentab Street from the Grand Mosque, but some of our friends said where we were going, the Iraqis are there. If we went, you will either be killed or taken captive. I went a little ahead, I was reported that the Iraqis retreated from Sanbab and fled. I went and found it true. There were several tanks were burning. Our forces sacrificed a lot in this area and bravely stood up to the Iraqis and did not allow them to occupy Khorramshahr and settle there. Although the Iraqis left the city, Iraqis continued the siege around Khorramshahr.[1]


[1] Ahmadi, M .R. (2013). Memoirs of Ayatollah Abdullah Mohammadi, Cultural Institute and Publications of the Islamic Revolution Documentation Center, Vol. I, , p. 151.

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