The ICRC in Iran
In Iran, the ICRC’s priorities are to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) 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. The ICRC cooperates with the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in a number of operational fields and maintains a logistics capacity to support ICRC operations in the region.
In Iran, the ICRC emphasizes the promotion of IHL, cooperation with the IRCS in a number of operational fields and the maintenance of a logistics capacity to support ICRC operations in the region. The ICRC also works 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.
The ICRC has been in Iran almost continuously since 1977. One of its principal concerns 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. The ICRC helps to train forensic professionals to identify and manage remains, and it provides specialized equipment for forensic laboratories.
The ICRC and the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran organize training seminars and workshops in the field of forensic science so that forensic specialists in Iran and in the region can enhance their capacity.
Restoring family links
In coordination with the Iranian authorities, the ICRC facilitates the repatriation of Iranian nationals released from detention or internment abroad or those located in Iraq. Joint efforts also result in Afghan minors being reunited with their families abroad.
Families and refugees are able to restore and maintain contact with their relatives detained or interned abroad by using the ICRC’s tracing and Red Cross message (RCM) services, operated jointly with the IRCS. The Red Crescent also collects RCMs from Afghans in Iranian custody.
Promotion of IHL
As well as circulating information widely, the ICRC delegation, in coordination with Iran’s national IHL committee, specifically promotes humanitarian principles and action at events in Iran run by think-tanks, NGOs and humanitarian organizations. Furthermore, events co-organized with the national IHL committee, religious scholars, media and academia provide students, academics, journalists and civil servants with an opportunity to exchange their views on IHL, humanitarian action and ICRC activities, and to debate current humanitarian challenges. The ICRC's library specializing in the field of law is available for researching legal aspects of humanitarian subjects.
The ICRC has engaged in a worldwide dialogue on Islam and IHL. In Iran, with the support of the Centre of Comparative Studies on Islam and IHL, prominent Iranian scholars and researchers have taken part in this global dialogue.
Care for mine victims
The IRCS and the ICRC, together with the Iranian Mine Action Centre, seek to develop their operational partnerships in the field of mine-risk education and care for people disabled by mines or other explosive debris. Most of the mines and debris come from the Iran-Iraq war and are found mainly in five western provinces.
Iran serves as a logistical supply line for ICRC operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and a number of African countries, providing these operations with locally-procured water, sanitation materials and emergency household items . Other relief items transit through Iran to those countries.
Cooperation with the IRCS
Close collaboration takes place with the IRCS, the ICRC’s main partner in the country. The cooperation between the two organizations has considerably developed in various dimensions in recent years. The two partners signed a five-year Partnership Framework Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 to strengthen their partnership in Iran and abroad.