Saturday, July 17, 2004

Why Iran Accepted UN Resolution 598

Description of Selected News: "Why Iran Accepted UN Resolution 598

By Hassan Hanizadeh
July 17, 1988 is the anniversary of Iran’s approval of United Nations Security Council Resolution 598.

Iran, which had gone through an eight-year war with Iraq at the time, announced its acceptance of UN Resolution 598 after taking its national interests and the regional and international situation into consideration, and a ceasefire was declared between Iran and Iraq.

Although former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein initiated a series of extensive attacks against Iran’s borders with the help of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) after Iran accepted the terms of the ceasefire, he failed to achieve his goals. Now, nearly 16 years since the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, and with the collapse of Saddam’s regime, the question arises: Why did Iran agree to accept Resolution 598?

In fact, the resolution was approved by the UN Security Council in 1987, one year before the end of the war. However, at the time, certain Security Council members tried to prepare a text which could later be interpreted in a way that would be beneficial for the Iraqi regime.

From the outset of hostilities and throughout the war, the Islamic Republic of Iran implemented various plans to resist the invasion of the Iraqi army, being well aware of the fact that the United States, other Western countries, and the Soviet Union all supported Saddam’s regime.

Iran followed three main strategies after Iraq invaded the country in 1980.

The first strategy was to obstruct the enemy’s advance on Iran’s borders.

Iranian military officials made strenuous efforts toward this end.

Although the Baath regime had occupied more than 10,000 square kilometers of Iranian territory, the Iranian soldiers’ counterattack stopped the advance of the Iraqi troops.

Iran’s second strategy consisted of asymmetrical warfare such as guerilla war and night war tactics to counter the Iraqi army’s extensive weaponry. The Baath forces suffered many losses at this stage.

Iran’s third and final strategy aimed at expelling enemy troops from the country, to be followed by legal efforts to force Iraq to pay war reparations.

The Islamic Republic’s armed forces liberated several Iraqi border cities including the strategic city Faw through extensive military operations.

It was at this juncture that the U.S. and the Soviet Union as well as certain Arab states and other Western countries began to support Saddam with extensive financial assistance and propaganda, and equipped the country with weaponry in order to prevent the collapse of the Baath regime.

In addition, during a meeting with Saddam in 1984, current U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave Iraq the green light to make use of chemical weapons to block the advance of Iranian forces.

The U.S. and other Western countries facilitated the Iraqi chemical weapons program and provided the Iraqis with sensitive military intelligence, thus preventing a shift in the balance of power in favor of Iran.

However, the frequent defeats of the Iraqi army forced the U.S. to directly enter the war.

In 1988, the United States shot down an Iranian airbus above the Persian Gulf that led to the martyrdom of 290 people and started attacks on Iran’s oil platforms.

The Islamic Republic, which was never opposed to accepting a conditional ceasefire, used political maneuvers to encourage members of the UN Security Council to moderate some clauses of Resolution 598, with some success.

Finally, due to the changes made in the resolution, which satisfied Iran to a certain extent, Iranian officials approved of the ceasefire by accepting the resolution.

Now that the Baath regime has collapsed, the UN should make efforts to ensure that Iran receives war reparations from Iraq, in light of the resolution and the fact that it has declared that Iraq was the aggressor in the war."

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