Gov’t Urged to Pursue Iran-Iraq War Reparations

Gov’t Urged to Pursue Iran-Iraq War Reparations Gov’t Urged to Pursue Iran-Iraq War Reparations

Lawmakers have called on the government to follow up on the issue of reparations dating back to the catastrophic eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 80s, saying that the amount of damages should be determined, though the mechanism and time of payment is negotiable.

Over a dozen parliamentarians have weighed on the matter in the past month in their talks with the official parliamentary news agency ICANA, which shows the issue is gaining momentum in Iran.

Yahya Kamalipour, a member of Majlis Judicial and Legal Commission, said that "under the present circumstances, even if we do not want to claim our right [of getting reparations] for any reason, our right must be retained so that it can be recorded in history."

Kamalipour pointed to the close Tehran-Baghdad relations after the overthrow of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and said, "Today relations have become brotherly. Therefore we must solve this matter between the governments and then agree on ways of receiving damages."

Iraq invaded Iran on Sept. 22, 1980, triggering a bitter eight-year war that devastated both countries and destabilized the region.

The war claimed the lives of at least one million people and during the conflict Iraq used poison gas against Iranians.

An estimated 20,000 Iranians were killed by Iraqi mustard gas or by nerve agents during the conflict.

The war ended in 1988 after UN Resolution 598 came into effect.

On 9 December 1991, the former UN secretary-general, Javier Perez de Cuellar, reported that Iraq's initiation of the war was unjustified, as was its occupation of Iranian territory and use of chemical weapons against civilians.

A large portion of interviewed parliamentarians have also called on the reparations to be paid non-cash, offering alternative mechanisms.

  Participation in Energy Projects

Lawmaker Mohammad Javad Abtahi said the Islamic Republic has not followed up the matter because of the difficult conditions facing Baghdad today.

Since Saddam's overthrow, Iraq has seen bouts of insecurities that culminated in 2014 with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group grabbing swathes of the country in lightning attacks. The group has lost most of those territories since then.

On top of that, Iraqi Kurdistan Region held an illegal secession referendum late last month, which has pushed the country to the brink of disintegration.

"Given the peculiar state of Iraq, part of damages can be sought through participation in Iraq's oil and gas projects," Abtahi said.

Lawmaker Mohammad Mahmoudi said once the amount of reparations is determined, they must be deferred until Iraq is in a stable situation, adding that "some of the compensations can be paid through barter and other projects".

Lawmaker Ali Bakhtiyar said some of the damages must be paid by countries supporting the Saddam regime during the war.

"The US supported the Iraqi invasion of Iran, and therefore must pay part of damages," Bakhtiyar said, calling for the matter to be followed up through international legal bodies.

Lawmaker Morteza Saffari said the fact that Iran has not followed up the issue of war reparations does not mean that it has forgotten it.

"Due to some reasons, we did not follow the issue of reparations after Saddam's fall," Saffari said.

"I believe that Baghdad cannot pay the war reparations since it does not have the necessary financial infrastructure, but the follow-up of the issue must not be neglected," he concluded.


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