Landmines in Iran Continue to Claim Victims
Due to the lack of new and advanced technologies in clearing mine clearing in the recent years, mines leftover inside Iran from the Saddam regime, immeasurable costs have been imposed on lives. With the lack of up-to-date facilities in mine clearance, the Iranian military has traditionally had the responsibility in doing this task, and in doing this many military and civilian lives have been lost.
In one of the latest reported cases of the explosion of a mine near one of Ilam Province villages has killed one and injured two from a mine clearing team in the region. IRNA News Agency reported that one person received injuries to the leg and the other injured victim was in critical condition who was medevac-ed to Ilam. In October of this year (2017) Mehr News Agency also reported the death of a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Kurdistan Province from a mine explosion. In July also domestic media reported the killing of 4 soldiers in Kurdistan from mine explosion.
In an interview with the Iran Without Borders Institute, military analyst, Hossein Arian says about this: “Iraq had more advanced weapons and utilised up-to-date military technology. But Iran did not have such weapons and made up for it by manpower, the human wave which attacked Iraqi positions, to prevent these waves of human attacks, Iraq placed mines across the length of its borders as much as it could.”
Hossein Arian deems the western border regions of Iran as the “world’s most dangerous region”, the clearance of which from mines has taken the lives of many Iranian soldiers and specialists. “Following the war, Iran has been trying to clear these regions from mines for many years, but it is a difficult task because first of all, Iraq never mapped the locations of the mines that it planted, which could have later been used to clear them, and secondly, assuming the existence of maps, mines covered with earth over a period of time move around and this can be caused by rain, ground movements, vegetation etc.”
Iran is the most polluted country in the world with millions of land mines. Some sources say with 16 million hidden landmines in its border regions, Iran is the second most mine polluted countries in the world. The five border Iranian provinces of Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Ilam and West Azerbaijan are still infested with landmines which are the ugly heritage of the war years with the neighbouring country.
Latest report released by the Iranian Defence Minister states that 28 thousand hectares of Iranian regions are infested with landmines and the thing that makes mine clearance difficult for Iran is the “lack of equipment, the topography of the affected regions and having no entry maps to the mined regions of the country.” The operation that Iran has launched to clear landmines in the country, is without the help of international organizations.
The point to note here is that the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) provides assistance to 18 countries but in spite of the sheer number of victims, Iran is not in its list of countries. As the director of the Mine Sweeping Centre of Iran, Mohammad Hossein Amir Ahmadi in commemoration of the International Dangers of Landmines Awareness Day complained against international organizations and said Iran had not received any equipment from anyone.
In event years in spite of the loss of hundreds of martyrs and disabled veterans, many efforts have been made by the government, the Defence Ministry and private sector to clear affected parts of the country from landmines. We hope that in the next few years this problem is eradicated from our country.