Responding to the invasion, 400 Christian Iranians, who had previously passed military services, immediately volunteered to the frontline and showed unparalleled courage by participating in operations, and during the eight years of holy defense, hundreds of them martyred, disabled, or prisoned.
With the imposition of war on our country by Iraq, a unique unity was formed. Minority group representatives asserted their communities’ desire to defend their country. Zoroastrian, Assyrians, and Christian communities not only offered their support and contributions but also took action.
A group of Armenians on the front lines repaired war vehicles, constructed roads, built morgues and field hospitals, in addition to paying all expenses.
The enthusiastic presence of Christian compatriots and other religious minorities portrayed Iranian unity at that time. Religious minorities also contributed cash and non-cash donations and dispatched technical, medical, and engineering teams to support the soldiers.
The Museum of the Islamic Revolution and Sacred Defense displays the items left in the battlefield owned by the martyrs of religious minorities. In this part of the hall, items of Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian martyrs, including military uniforms, bags, photos, ID cards, and glasses, are shown to the public and has provided statistics on the number of martyrs of religious minorities.
The most prominent Iranian martyr of Armenian ethnicity was Zurik Moradian and Vigen Karapetyan. Among the 6 Assyrian martyrs, Robert Lazarus is the most famous who was martyred in the last year of the war.
Some 221 of these youth were martyred, 1102 were disabled, and 48 were prisoners of war.
The Iraqi army invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, setting the stage for eight years of war. With support from certain Arab and Western countries, Saddam Hussein ordered an attack on Iran nearly 19 months after the Islamic Revolution.
The war drew to a close in August 1988. The United Nations declared Saddam as the initiator of the conflict.
In Iran, Sacred Defense Week is commemorated every year from September 21st.
According to official statistics, 225,570 people were martyred and 574,101 people became veterans during the holy defense. Also, freed prisoners of war were 43,173.