Thousands of Iranian people have taken part in a funeral procession in the capital, Tehran, to honor 150 mostly unidentified martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
The memorial event on Thursday was attended by people from various social strata as well as Iran’s political figures and military officials, who gathered in front of Tehran University to commemorate the country’s national heroes, whose remains have been found 31 years after the end of the Iraqi war.
During the procession, tearful attendants in black held flowers, read passages from the Holy Quran, and laid flowers on the flag-draped caskets of the martyrs.
From the 150 martyrs, as many as 30 are identified and will be buried in their hometown provinces of Esfahan, Bushehr, Khuzestan, Khorasan Razavi, Semnan, Fars, Qazvin, Gilan, Yazd, and Tehran.
The remains belong to soldiers martyred in operations launched between 1983 and 1988.
The Iran-Iraq war saw former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launch a military invasion of Iran in 1980 while being heavily supported by major Western and regional states. The war started less than two years after the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
Back at the time, a large number of volunteers joined the Iranian armed forces to defend their country under the leadership of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.
The war is commemorated in Iran every year as the eight years of Sacred Defense. Each year, Iranian armed forces stage countrywide military drills and parades to mark the war’s anniversary.
Up to 160,000 are estimated to have been martyred during the war, while more than 60,000 others went missing in action.
The Islamic Republic has been carrying out constant search operations to recover the bodies of the missing over the years that have followed the war. The operations mostly span the country’s southern and western areas, which border Iraq, as well as inside the Iraqi soil.