Mahabad, West Azarbaijan, IRNA – Commander in chief of Islamic Republic Guard Corps said Saturday that the brave residents of Iranˈs Sardasht border city with their exemplary resistance and challenging attitude taught everyone the lesson of gallantry and resilience.
Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jaˈfari made the comment in a message on the 27th anniversary of the chemical bombardment of Iranian border city of Sardasht by the Baˈathist regime of the ousted Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussain, in an auditorium of that township in the presence of some country and army officials.
ˈBeyond doubt the chemical bombardment of Sardasht in the year 1978 by the wretched Baˈathist enemy regime is a document for having been oppressed of the noble and revolutionary Iranian nation, and particularly the residents of Sardasht City,ˈ said the IRGC commander,
ˈSardasht catastrophe is so painful that the sound of its oppressed victims will echo in the ears of the world nations till the end of the history of mankind so that maybe one day the liar standard bearers of the human rights would heed a small bit of their natural duties; the standard bearers who saw the catastrophes of Sardasht and Halabcha, but due to the ruling censorship in world media, the horrendous dimensions of that horrible crime remained hidden from world nationsˈ public opinion,ˈ said Brigadier General Jaˈfari.
ˈThis year, on the 27th anniversary of the chemical bombardment of Sardasht City by the bloodthirsty Baˈathi butchers, we commemorate the memories of over 800 martyrs and 2000 injured victims of that war crime, hoping that this commemoration service would serve as a pretext and an opportunity for echoing the sound of oppression of the civilian people and innocent children, and even the future generations of the brave Sardasht, in the ears of the world nations,ˈ said the IRGC commander.
He meanwhile encouraged the world public opinion and the freedom seekers around the globe to make more serious moves aimed at blocking the path for the production, stockpiling and use of the chemical weapons, as well as all other types of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by the hegemonic powers, especially the criminal US and Zionist regimes.
Also present in the commemoration service there were the minister of health, a number of parliament members from the regionˈs various cities, officials from the Martyrs and War Disabled Veterans, Friday prayers imams of the region, IRGC commanders and a large number of Sardasht residents and chemical victims.
It was about 4 p.m. on June 28, 1987 when Iraqi warplanes began circling the city of Sardasht in northwestern Iran and dropped bombs containing chemical weapons on four parts of the city.
The poison gas attack continued on the next day, and the neighboring villages were also not spared.
Over 130 people were killed in the attacks on Sardasht at the time, but the real death toll is much higher since some died of their injuries later.
About 5000 people were injured in the chemical weapons attack and suffered lifelong health problems as a result. Some victims spent the rest of their lives in hospital, suffering from respiratory problems.
The world did not take notice of this tragedy until former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq on March 16, 1988, killing 5000 men, women, and children.
Professor Philip G. Kreyenbroek, the director of the Iranian Studies Department at the University of Gottingen in Germany, says the attack on Halabja is better known because of the much greater number of victims, and also because it highlighted Saddam’s willingness to murder his own people.
“An attack on enemy territory did not shock the Western public as much as near-genocide in one’s own territory,” Kreyenbroek said.
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, the chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies of the London Middle East Institute of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said Western companies helped Saddam commit atrocities against Iranians and Iraqi Kurds.
“Halabja and Sardasht were atrocities that were only possible due to the dual-use equipment made available to Saddam Hussein by Western companies,” he stated.
Some human rights campaigners believe that Sardasht should be registered in world history, just like Hiroshima, as a city that was a victim of weapons of mass destruction.
Western firms that sold component materials for the production of chemical weapons to Saddam’s Baˈathist regime must be held accountable.
There has been no justice for the people of Sardasht. It has been 27 years since a formal complaint about the attack was submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, but the case is still open.