0349 GMT May 27, 2022
Forty-three years have passed since Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the great founder of the Islamic Republic, issued a historic decree to designate April 18 as the Army Day in Iran. It was a life-giving decree, the importance of which is felt more than ever. At the time when various groups with eclectic ideologies in society were yelling for the army to be dissolved, Ayatollah Khomeini stood alone against their sinister demand and stressed that the army should remain intact.
In those days, Imam Khomeini's lofty thought and prudence were strange to some who were unable to understand. However, it took only a few months for his far-sightedness to be proved to everyone when a counter-revolution rebellion broke out in the western province of Kurdestan. It was the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran that, along with other Armed Forces and the people, quelled the dangerous sedition in that region, which aimed to threaten the country’s territorial integrity and tear apart Iran. The army, led by its sincere commanders, such as Lieutenant General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, fought epic battles in Kurdestan and crushed the counter-revolutionaries.
This was not the whole story. Enemies of the independence and dignity of a nation who had suffered from tyranny were preparing for a much bigger sedition to bring the Iranian people to their knees. When Saddam Hussein, thinking of fragmentation, incoherence and incompetence of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ordered a full-scale invasion of our country at noon on September 22, 1980, perhaps he never had in mind the idea that Iran's first response to his aggression would be just two hours after Iraq’s invasion.
The army had suffered some hardships in those days as a result of organizational purges after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, when the territorial integrity of the Islamic homeland came under attack by the enemy, it immediately stepped in with all its might and capabilities and created epic scenes on the ground, in the air and at the sea and destroyed the enemy.
The extensive air raid with 140 fighter jets involved against Ba'athist enemy positions on the first day of the war, Operation Morvarid (Pearl) launched by the Iranian Navy on December 28, 1980 that resulted in the destruction of the Iraqi Navy, the complex H-3 airstrike on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, epic battles fought by the heroic Ground Force of Iran’s Army in the operations of breaking the siege of Abadan, Fat’h al-Mobin, Tariq al-Quds, Beit ul-Moqaddas, and the unforgettable performance of Iran’s air defense in Operation Valfajr 8 are only part of the golden record of the warriors of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Sacred Defense, who, together with their comrades in the popular Basij force and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, turned the most enduring page in the history of the Iranian nation.
Hardships and shortcomings never prevented the army from carrying out its main mission, which is to ensure the security of the great nation of Iran and its land, air and sea borders. Perhaps the best example is the early stage of the Sacred Defense when the equipment-oriented forces of the army, such as the Air Force, were in dire straits due to a lack of spare parts and equipment. At the time, the army launched a self-sufficiency movement for the first time to make spare parts and counter sanctions, which enabled it to play an active role on the battlefield until the last day of the war.
The war ended and this time the army had to take greater steps to ensure the security of the country by rejuvenating and effectively rebuilding itself. This was the drive force behind an overhaul and self-sufficiency movement, which resulted in making indigenous military hardware that is currently being used to defend the homeland.
Designing and manufacturing all kinds of indigenous equipment and weapons, including tanks, personnel carriers, artillery, destroyers, submarines, fighter jets and air defense systems, as well as various types of drones that have become an effective weapon against the enemies of the Iranian nation are only a small part of a path the army has gone down in defense of the country.
The Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot be called an organization that only operates to defend the country and ensure national security. Natural disasters hitting our country in recent years have revealed another face of the army which rushed to help the people directly and closely in critical and difficult situations.
Who does not remember the scenes that the army came to assist the people in earthquakes and floods or the scene that an elderly man stepped on the shoulders of an army colonel to get into a vehicle? Such sacrifices prompted Commander-in-Chief Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to say: “Services humbly offered by the army to the flood-stricken people signify sincerity of the motto that ‘the army sacrifices itself for the nation’” and awarded a medal of honor for humble services to the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and called the army an "exhibition of Islamic values".
Today, the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran is more determined than ever, along with its defense missions, to serve in all areas where the country needs it, a recent example of which is its assistance for fighting the coronavirus by setting up convalescent care facilities and vaccination and respiratory centers and providing hospital beds among others. Today, the army can be described as a factory with the geographical size of the Islamic Republic of Iran whose product is security; a product that will be the raw material of all other activities in the country.
*Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari is the deputy chief of the Iranian Army for coordination.