May 2, 2016
Iranian regime used child soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988
A military propaganda campaign in Iran is aimed at encouraging children to martyr themselves by going to fight in Syria.
The video, which was aired on Iran state television, shows children taking up arms and singing a song entitled ‘Martyrs who defend the sacred shrine’, which states that they are ready to give their lives, not just to free Iraq and Syria, but to ‘reach Jerusalem’.
Produced by the Bassij Music House, from the Bassij branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which is responsible for pro-regime propaganda, the video appears to be an attempt to help prop up Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria using child soldiers to bolster the number of fighters.
The children in the video sing: “Let’s rise up to save the sacred shrine. I have joined [Imam] Hossein’s army division. I have a warrant from the [Imam Ali] to defend the sacred shrine. On my leader [Ali Khamenei’s] orders I am ready to give mygoal is not just to free Iraq and Syria, My path is through the sacred shrine [in Syria], but my goal is to reach Jerusalem.”
The video was criticised by the exiled Iranian resistance as harking back to an era where child soldiers were used in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988, when children, who were seen as more expendable that adult soldiers, were sent to run ahead of troops in minefields.
Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI), said:”This promotional clip first of all manifests the anti-human nature of the regime which seeks to even mobilize the children of its own loyalists as cannon fodder.
“This and similar measures by the mullahs’ regime indicate a strategy deadlock for the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Syria which is Tehran’s main hub for exporting terrorism and fundamentalism to the region. They point to widespread dissatisfaction in Iran of the regime’s warmongering in Syria and its internal isolation.
“After having attempted to deploy its IRGC forces and foreign militias including Afghans, Lebanese and Iraqis, and even its regular army units, the regime has resorted to recruiting children to the war fronts,” he added.
“But this disgraceful and inhumane act will not bring the regime out of a deadlock, just as it failed to do so during the Iran-Iraq war. The difference is that this time the regime has already used up all its strategic resources, and it is in a far more fragile state.”
The regime has previously been criticised for recruiting Afghan refugees to fight in Syria, with many reporting being threatened with death or deportation if they did not comply.