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to Harrak: not such an excellent answer

Reader comment on item: Deterring Tehran
in response to reader comment: excellent and rare question! about the 8 years war

Submitted by true believer (India), May 15, 2006 at 06:08

Iran had a good air force with the latest American war planes and a credible air defense system developed by the west to begin with at the onset of the war. Iran was also a member of CENTO till 1979 and was important in US plans to control the Soviet ambitions in the Persian gulf. Iran got military hardware, especially missiles from China (light arms, artillery, aircraft, T59 tanks, Silkworm missiles), North Korea (light infantry weapons and ammo, SAMs) and also help from Libya (mainly Scuds).

Iran had and used missiles even in those days. Syria also cut off Iraqi oil pipeline (thereby almost drying up Iraqi oil exports and revenue) to support Iran apart from supplying it with some of its own Soviet made military hardware. What is most important Iran gladly accepted military hardware and spares from Israel to maintain its pre 1979 American military hardware, that very country that it is now planning to wipe out from the face of the earth ! And it was ayatollah khomenei of Iran who accepted the UN mandated truce when he rightly understood that mustard gas is injurious to health in the end after eight bloody years, contrary to your claims of "Iran wanting to persist the war". This was the cause of a major celebration in Iraq at the end of the war.

Apart from those above, countries like France, Italy, Switzerland, the Soviet Union and even countries like Brazil and Argentina were involved as intermediaries in the double game of supplying arms clandestinely to Iran. Some were involved more directly. e.g. in 1985, the British transferred to Iran a fleet-refueling ship and two landing ships in addition to repairing a couple of Iranian BH-7 Hovercraft. In the same year, Iran also purchased from the Netherlands two landing craft, with a capacity over 1,000 tons.

Even the Reagan administration had,at some time, secretly sold weapons to Iran in the hope ( unsuccessfully ) that Iran would, in exchange, persuade several radical Islamic groups to release Western hostages. (the Iran-Contra Affair). This included an initial shipment of a thousand BGM-71 TOW missiles and a large amount of unspecified military hardware including miscellaneous weapons and additional spares for its American military hardware.

While support and aid for Iraq whether diplomatic, monetary or military was open, Iran got much of its required war supplies clandestinely. Iran was not that helpless and isolated during the eight year old war as you may like us to believe. You have conveniently left out China and North Korea in the list of countries that aided Iran during the war. The situation is not much different today apart from the fact that erstwhile Soviets have publicly switched sides while Saddam is history.


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