Iran-Iraq war veteran families support Iran popular protests

The children of high-ranking Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders who died during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) announced their support of the anti-government uprising and expressed outrage over the government’s propaganda in the name of their fathers.

As the protests entered their eighth week, family members of slain IRGC generals distanced themselves from the establishment, urging the government to stop the brutal crackdown on the demonstrations.

Asieh, the daughter of a leading IRGC commander Hamid Bakeri, strongly criticised the government in a social media post widely covered by the Farsi media based in the West.

“Don’t use my father’s name to oppress people of my country,” Bakeri wrote on Instagram, whose father was killed in 1984 during the war with Iraq.

Bakeri also posted a photo showing one of the banners the authorities installed in Tehran with the images of the Iran-Iraq war fallen soldiers and the Farsi writing: “The martyrs are looking”. In Iran’s official narrative, the soldiers who died during the war are dubbed ‘martyrs’.

Asieh Bakeri, who is politically close to the reformists, accused the authorities of exploiting his father’s name for propaganda goals.

“What have you done, misters? What have you done after those dear lives were lost? Why your domestic legitimacy has declined so low? For years you talked of security, and security, so then why have you failed to provide security to Shah Cheragh,” Bakeri added, referring to the 26 October terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Shiraz.

“Pull down these posters from the city walls and hang them in your own homes … however I doubt these eyes would wake you up,” she concluded.

Using images of the Iran-Iraq war dead soldiers has been one of the main pillars of the Iranian authorities’ propaganda apparatus during the past four decades; however, since the 2009 Green Movement, a widening gap has been shaped between the regime and the families of those fighters.

As the latest wave of anti-government demonstrations began on 16 September, several other family members of the killed commanders and soldiers, known as the “Martyrs’ Family” in Iran, heavily criticised the establishment.

Before Bakeri’s Instagram post, a video went viral on Farsi social media, in which a person introduced himself as the son of the slain commander of Salman Battalion from division 42, Haj Hossein Malmir, denouncing the crackdowns in Iran.

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