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Iran/Iraq: search for war missing yields new results

15-02-2012 News Release 12/31

Geneva/Tehran/Baghdad (ICRC) – A two-week joint Iran-Iraq mission in Al Fao, southern Iraq, resulted in the exhumation of the mortal remains of 178 Iranian and Iraqi soldiers killed during the 1980-1988 war between the two countries.

The mission, carried out between 27 January and 14 February, was the second in three months to take place on Iraqi soil under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The Iraqi authorities, including their Ministry of Human Rights, and the Iranian authorities worked together closely to locate and exhume the human remains," said Dika Dulic, from the ICRC delegation in Iraq. "Once the remains have been identified, the families will finally know what happened to their missing relatives and will be able to mourn them."

"The representatives of both countries reiterated their commitment to continue the search and to plan more such joint missions in the coming months," added Joana Durao, from the ICRC delegation in Iran. "They also agreed to have the remains of 21 Iranian soldiers repatriated before the end of February."

In 2008, Iran, Iraq and the ICRC set up a tripartite process aimed at clarifying what happened to those still missing. Since then, the Iranian and Iraqi authorities have accounted for some 2,500 missing persons, and the remains of 407 soldiers have been returned to their home countries.

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 1980-1988 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
Mojgan Mohammad, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 912 805 8082
Claire Kaplun, ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 780 91 31 626