Iran/Iraq: joint mission to clarify the fate of soldiers missing since 1980-1988 war

29-11-2011 News Release 11/247

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – The remains of 103 Iranian and Iraqi soldiers who went missing during the 1980-1988 war between the two countries were recovered in Al-Fao, southern Iraq, in a joint Iranian-Iraqi operation carried out between 18 and 27 November under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The authorities of both countries spared no effort to make this mission successful," said Lourdes Penados, an ICRC forensic adviser in the region. During a joint technical working group meeting chaired by the ICRC, held in Basra on 28 November, they reaffirmed their commitment to carry out more such missions in the near future. "They also agreed that the exhumed remains of three Iranian soldiers would be repatriated in the coming days," she added. "The families will finally be able to mourn their lost relatives."

Iranian and Iraqi representatives worked together to locate and exhume the human remains. The operation was carried out within the framework of the tripartite process established in October 2008 by Iran, Iraq and the ICRC, which aims to clarify what happened to those still unaccounted for.

In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC provides support for the efforts of the Iranian and Iraqi authorities to account for those who went missing during the war and to ease the suffering of their families.

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57
John Strick van Linschoten, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 22 64 58 21-4 or +98 912 327 30 99
Claire Kaplun, ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 780 91 31 626