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The ICRC in Iran

01-06-2011 Overview

In Iran, the ICRC’s priorities are to promote international humanitarian law and to work with the authorities in Iran and Iraq to address some of the humanitarian consequences of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, particularly the issue of missing persons. It cooperates with the Iranian Red Crescent Society in a number of operational fields and maintains a logistics capacity to support its operations in the region.

In Iran, the ICRC’s priorities are to promote international humanitarian law and to work with the authorities in Iran and Iraq to address some of the humanitarian consequences of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, particularly the issue of missing persons. It cooperates with the Iranian Red Crescent Society in a number of operational fields and maintains a logistics capacity to support its operations in the region.


The ICRC has been in Iran almost continuously since 1977. Its principal concern has been the fate of tens of thousands of soldiers who went missing during the eight-year conflict with Iraq. The ICRC supports official efforts by the two countries to establish the fate of these people, so as to relieve the suffering of their families.


The issue is addressed through an agreement signed in 2008 by Iran, Iraq and the ICRC, which establishes a clear framework for collecting and sharing information. This has led to both Iran and Iraq repatriating the remains of a number of persons. The ICRC's status as a neutral intermediary is fully recognized, especially when repatriation operations take place. It helps to train forensic professionals in the identification and management of remains, and provides specialized equipment for forensic laboratories.


Restoring family links


In coordination with the Iranian authorities, Iranian nationals released from detention or internment abroad or located in Iraq are repatriated under ICRC auspices, and Afghan minors reunited with their families abroad.


Families and refugees are able to restore and maintain contact with their relatives detained or interned abroad through the ICRC’s tracing and Red Cross message (RCM) services, operated jointly with the Iranian Red Crescent. The Red Crescent also collects RCMs from Afghans in Iranian custody.


In order to promote awareness and understanding of international humanitarian law, the ICRC cooperates closely with Iran’s national IHL committee, which has carried out a study on the compatibility of national legislation with IHL treaties. The ICRC also shares information and cooperates with religious authorities and institutions, including the permanent secretariat of Islam/IHL in Qom, in order to reinforce mutual understanding.


Care for mine victims


The Iranian Red Crescent and the ICRC seek to develop their operational partnership, particularly in the areas of restoring family links, rehabilitation and care for people disabled by mines or other explosive debris, and mine-risk education. In this field, the ICRC has helped the Janbazan Medical and Engineering Research Centre to improve the quality of life of mine victims and their families, notably by providing health care.


Iran serves as a logistics base for ICRC operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, with an ICRC warehouse located in the city of Kermanshah and a presence in the north-eastern town of Mashhad.


Photos

 

A little girl learns how to stay safe in mine-infested areas.
© ICRC / N. Dadbin / ir-e-00074