From Right: Ph.D Behzad Asaei, Doctor Reza Karami, engineer Mohammad Taqdiri, engineer Abbas Jahangiri, martyr Hamid Salehi, Piranshahr, Operation Dawn 2
In the first part memories of Behzad Asaei, we read from his first appearance in fronts of the sacred defense to an injury that caused he could participate in all exams of May 1982 and came back to the front again. He said: "Hoveyzeh was a big change for me. Hoveyzeh was a professional training center", because he neutralized mines about four or five hours in a day. Asaei mentioned his martyred comrades and told memories and the days that the current Minister of Education interviewed him to be accepted in one of Tehran's high schools: "he asked, "Why are you coming now? I told, Well, I was in Front. He immediately accepted; it means I entered to Mofid School in the same September 25." Please read rest of the memories of the sacred defense fighter and faculty at Tehran University.
In photo of Mofid School students, you are with people who all are now elites of the country.
It depends on how we define elite, but yes.
Those who are now prominent figures…
Elites who were martyred…
I wanted to talk about those martyrs and give us the photo too.
Yes, I have the photo of the high school.
How many of these guys have been martyred? and the rest who are living…
They are university masters, or have a factory, or are busy somehow. Among that thirty-six people group, I think seven or eight people were martyred.
Is the number amount of your class?
Yes, about twenty to twenty-five percent were martyred that we had other from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran University and Iran University of Science and Technology.
Were all students of the class accepted at the university?
Those days acceptance in university was very difficult and there were no Azad University and other institutions like that. All were accepted. Only one or two were not accepted in good majors, like martyr Bolourchi who resigned and later was accepted in a better major. Martyr Bolourchi became student of Electronic Engineering at SUT.
Were you accepted in Electrical Engineering at Tehran University?
Yes, I was accepted in Electrical Power Engineering at Tehran University. At the time, because of the Cultural Revolution they accepted students instead of September in January.
Does it mean in the second semester?
That is we passed the exam in September, but they didn't accepted students. In short, in 1983 we discussed with our friends that what should we do? Should we do competitive examination? Or go to the front? Some of friends stayed, we were peers, they stayed in the war in the same junior, but we did the exam. They became Sardar (General) and member of Sepah and are now retired. They were residents of Hashemi Street and preferred war not education.
Do you mean the guys of south of Tehran?
Yes, the guys of south of Tehran and Hashemi Street.
Had your father ever told not go to the front?
The first time I went to the front, my mother allowed me. Well, they were parents and did not want I go, but I went and it became normal for them. The first time was difficult.
That how do you get permission?
Yes, finally my mother allowed. When the competitive examination was over, maybe two days afterwards we all went to the front. Its photo is also available that we went to operating areas of Dawn 2, Haj Omran and Piranshahr. Almost we always went together. At that time our school was in the way that usually we studied and were taught the lessons until 3:0 or 4:00 P.M and stayed for teamwork till 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. we also had a meeting at the home of one of the guys on Tuesdays. Mr. Danesh, Mr. Rafiei, Doctor Zafarghandi or Mr. Mozaffari taught ethics and we read Qur'an and interpretation, and prayed. Then we ate pastries, fruit, dinner or a soup and after that went. The course was circulated and each week was held at home of one of us. Our friendship was almost 24 hours a day, like brothers fraternized and we became all brothers in the same senior.
Which stratums were the guys who went to Mofid School?
They're from low and high classes of Tehran and they weren't selected from a particular region.
I mean how were they in terms of general situation in the society? Had they financial ability?
At that time, Mofid School didn't receive any money. They said anyone who wants to give money pay, but many did not. For example, my father paid just 10000 Rials. They didn't get any money, their only filter was that everyone who wanted to educate in this school had to be a Muslim, even a good average wasn't important. 20 to 25 % of the guys were from south. I'm still in touch with them and our relationship still remains strong. Skip it. I did the competitive examination 1983. We went Urmia and from there to Piranshahr and Haj Omran and Sayyid al-Shuhada brigade in June. Because we wanted to be together, we went to two battalions, two battalions near each other in defense of operational area of Dawn 2 in height of 2519. We were 20 days in Haj Omran. If you want I tell its story too.
Martyr Salehi, our comrades, and martyr Bolourchi were in our trench. In adjacent battalion (was at top of the defense) were martyr Karimiyan, doctor Karami who is faculty of K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Mr. Morteza Minaparvar who is manufacturer and Mr. Abbas Jahangiri who has been working on a project in Africa for many years. Salehi martyred when he was senior student of Mechanical engineering at Tehran University. Martyr Bolourchi was also senior student of electrical engineering at SUT. We stayed about 20 to 30 days and when the defense finished, we went from Piranshahr to Sarpol-e Zahab and garrison of Abuzar. I think we were there for a month and I found again my friends in destruction unit. (He is laughing) I separated there from Abuzar garrison and went again destruction unit of Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigade. Mr. Ebadi had told me go there and I became destructor of intelligence of operation of the brigade. God bless him, martyr Haj Abdollah Noorian was also there. He was our commander. Martyr Kord, commander of intelligence of operation of the brigade and martyr Rastegar, commander of the brigade, were there too.
Was the brigade of the same brigade that later became Sayyid al-Shuhada army 10?
Yes. I went Sarpol-e Zahab. Next to Qurehto (قورهتو) River and Koh-e Ahangaran I went almost every night for identification. I would go observation post and looked the area during day and walked in nights approximately 17 to 20 thousand steps. We passed hills and rivers and canebrake and several minefields and walked behind of Iraqis. Every night, we identified various passages step by step to see where we could take our forces. We ate dinner with Army corps who were there, then walked and returned at dawn. During the walking different stories were happened for us.
For example, what stories?
For example, a night we returned to the guard trenches, they hadn't told that we're ahead. When we were ahead, no one shot and all were careful not to strike. But a night when we were 5 persons coming back toward our road loitering and bored, they began shooting with G3. In short, we jumped side of the road and moved slowly. We told: Why are you shooting godly man? We're insiders. (Smilingly) He said no one had told me. We found that his telephone line had been outrage and no one had come to inform him that the forces are in front. He volleyed strictly. The line was very quiet too. It was the line that some Iraqis and some Iranian had cannon quota. They had to strike the quota every day. We had good observation on Iraqis in the morning and we shot during 10 to 11 A.M. they had good view in the evening and fired during 4 to 5 P.M. This time was also an unwritten contract. There were no Iraqis during 10 to 11 A.M we during 4 to 5 P.M. Rest of the time we were free and played volleyball because being all in trenches was boring. We observed all Iraqis at watchtower, but we didn't shoot them. They walked easily, and vice versa.
It was so hard that walking 20000 steps, passing three or four minefields and through shrubbery and canebrake and river, but not involving the minefields. We did not permitted touch them. We did not defuse the mines and didn't take the detonations. We passed tripwires and crossed barbed roll wires without cutting them. Behind them was flare mine that we passed them so difficulty. First day I would say really we must pass the barbed wire? After we went there, we found it easy and crossed. In short, we moved ahead every night. There was a village in side of the mountain that couldn't be seen, but we went there. It had sweet lime tree and we picked up a sweet lemon every night and ate it. Winter arrived and it was cold. We had to take off our shoes when we wanted passing the river, then we got canebrake and we had to cross it too. There were mines in shrubberies and canebrakes, and then we were in a minefield. Iraqis were also in other side of the river that had ambush trench. Between two ambush trenches that were in side of the mountain, was a distance about 100 to 120 meters. We were 4 persons and there was a path between the bulwarks that people who were in ambush would come and go and we couldn't go in that way, we had to path through minefield. When we would cross the trench, there was again a minefield and then we would get to main line of Iraq. When we were passing the two bulwarks in a night, Iraqis stood there. They were smoking and talking. After ten minutes that we had passed, a noise heard. We had infrared camera, but did not have the right to use it so that cameras didn't interfere. We thought they had seen us. Then our team leader, martyr Kianpoor, looked by the camera.
Have you heard his name?
I think after martyr Kord, he became responsible for intelligence of Army 10 and was captured in Operation Karbala 4 and was martyred there. What didn't know what should we do? To fight with them or no. we decided to fight. (Emphasis added) even though for not our AKM noisy, we put our shoestring on them and guns were out of trigger guard to fight. Martyr Kianpour looked by the camera and said "4 are this side, 6 that side and 8 … All around us were Iraqis, and the ambush trench was in down too; namely through minefield and all around Iraqis. If we would conflict we were martyred surely. Five to ten minutes later, they became quiet. We found that they were changing their shifts. They changed their shift at 24:00.
Was the noise due to changing their shift?
People who were moving, they were changing their shifts, they were coming toward our ambush trench, we thought they were coming toward us, but they replaced previous forces. This was one of the nights that we had. Do you like to tell story of another night?
Yes, of course!
Another night we crossed the river and went to identify a channel. We passed a minefield too. We were four and placed two comrades behind minefields. I think martyr Kianpoor and I went. I walked in front of him to tell him place of mines. There I saw a new mine that I had not seen before that. We just looked it, crossed, and went to the door of channel. I was looking the channel my in a way all fours that suddenly I heard sound of a stone like sound of a shooting. As soon as I heard the sound, I looked up, I saw five or six meters of other side of the channel is ambush trench. I heard the sound again. I guessed they thought I'm an animal. I came back in all fours and said: my brother Kianpoor, let's go. We returned from minefield.
Iraqis do not think you could go there at all.
I do not know, but we had gone all fours not to realize us. Because there were many animals and they went on mines too. One of our chances was that when a mine was exploded, they checked mines to see whether it was touch or not. It was decided to be an operation here and we hadn't permission to neutralize mines. The other night we crossed the river and passed canebrake. I was walking squat in the shrubbery. It was a bad minefield. At first glance it didn't have barbed wire and we didn't realize that we entered in a minefield. Then we saw that its barbed wire was on the ground. As I was walking squat, I put my foot on the side of a bush that was exploded and it threw me two or three meters. My boot was torn. We were in midst of minefield and Iraqis were in front of us. I had suffered a blast injury and I did not know where Iraqis were. Iraqis began to shooting flare, but they didn't shoot bullet. They again had thought that an animal had gone on a mine. In short, the guys pulled me up. My foot was swollen. I touch it and found that it wasn't cut but it was swelled too much. With the help of the guys I came back and I hadn't to expose that I had been injured, as because of that the operation would be exposed. We got to the trench, they took me to garrison Abuzar and from there to hospital. I was under control that was I hadn't to get in touch with anyone. My left leg was swollen for about a month and a half, but they did not allow me to go back Tehran. I stayed in the hospital two or three weeks so that I became better and came back to brigade headquarter. This time Haj Abdullah sent me operational area of Dawn 4. We went Marivan, Panjwin and Kani Manga. My foot was swollen and I could not walk, but I went anyway. Again I was with intelligence unit of the operation that in which Rustam and Mr. Kianpoor were also.
How long did it take?
I think six months. I think it was in October 1983 that competitive examination result was announced and they said, come for interview. I could go interview for Imam Sadegh University and Tehran University. I did not know which ones I had to select. I think Mr. Bagheri kani interviewed me and I was accepted at Imam Sadegh University, but I selected electrical engineering at Tehran University.
Did you go to classroom in January too?
Yes, I went classroom since January 1982.
How did you adjust being a student and going to the front?
We as students had much fear to go to the front. They didn't tell anything, but we did not have facilities. As when there was an operation the guys informed us and we went for operation. I became a professional destructor and trained operation intelligence. Sometimes I went to headquarter Khatam and Karbala or brigades 110 and Sayyid al-Shuhada (AS). Sometimes I would go with the guys to infantry battalion, for example, once or twice I went to Army Hazrat Rasool (PBUH). Because of my task had been more specialized, I would go for destruction. Sometimes 15 persons and I went anti-armor unit for six months. We didn't like to be separated, we as fifteen or sixteen people would go to the period together.
Where they confreres of university or Mofid School?
No, they were confreres of Mofid who they were sophomore and junior in college too.
Have the courses already been continued?
Yes, still continues.
Is it still going on?
Yes, now for example they're held once a month or bi-monthly. Weekly meetings were continued during college period, afterward members were married, meeting gradually were held once a month, but they are still continuing.
Do your masters participate in these courses too?
Yes, we are still in touch. Not at all meetings, but we meet them in some weddings and ceremonies.
Is your team in touch?
Yes, about one or two months ago was wedding of one our friend's daughter, they were all there. Our relationship is much stronger than to be discontinued. Assume a thirty-six-member team that eight or nine of them were martyred.
All 15 persons went Army 27 together.
Yes, but they weren't just of our course. Seven of eight were of our course; we were course 3. There were 4 & 5 and other courses too. At the time, we fifteen persons went and all were students. Officials told "it couldn't be, all fifteen would be martyred together, we had to separate you for example every three go to a battalion." But we said: "all of us had to be in one battalion, one company and one bunch. (Smilingly) They told "it couldn't be done. We also stroke and went to Hosseinieh of garrison Dokuhe. We slept night there too.
Did not you go to none of the battalion?
No. After that, they negotiated us that at least let put you in a battalion, but in three companies. We said "we couldn't!" Finally they were satisfied that we would be in one company and three bunches (he is laughing), but not in one bunch. We accepted. Operation Badr was done in 1985. I think then I went brigade Khatam 110 and headquarter Karbala too. I went to Camp Karbala. They wanted explode Al Amaya Oil port among three or four oil ports of enemy.
Did it happen during war for you to do a work in your education field? For example, did it come to your mind an idea?
Not many, we just wanted in the destruction unit for example to explode explosive wired detonators by switch and capacitor; such very easy works. I was sophomore and Junior at college and I wasn't yet so specialized to do a remarkable work. The guys who had gone in telecommunication unit did things like repairing radiotelephone. In short, I went to university, studied and came back to the front again. In a semester I had thirty-five credits. Because the last semester I hadn't been in college, only advantage that they gave was that they told you could exam two semesters together. I had thirty-five credits and it meant one-quarter of BS credits.
And in engineering!
In Operation Dawn 8 (Al-Faw) I studied circuit book in trench. (Smilingly)
Did you bring your books to the front?
Yes, the guys appeared so angry when they saw me. In heat and humidity, in trenches, even when being chemical war zone I studied book and even I studied better, because my only work was fighting with the enemy. When I would come back my grades were even better. I remember in one lesson I took notes from the guys. I got full grade (20) and one who I had taken him the note got 19 or 18.
What was result of the semester?
Nothing, I passed all credits and in one semester one quarter of BS credits were passed.
What was your average?
I do not remember, but my overall average was 16/37.
Your BS average?
Yes. MS average was also 17+. The average was resulted of the war and the front and exactingness of Tehran University. Then they made it hard more than now. BS course was also very hard. I was classmate of martyr Hussein Jalaiepoor at university. Martyr Salehi was also at Tehran University.
Were they your confreres?
Yes, Mr. Farhood Kazemi studied electrical engineering. Doctor Moradi, current faculty at Tehran University was too. Martyr Mansur Kazemi who was not with us in senior at high school, he had gone to Nikan School, but years before that he was a student in Mofid School and he had participated in all of our meetings. These five-six friends and I were together at university. We had many stories at university in first and second years that credits were general education course. We were together in the front, university and meetings. We had our weekly meetings even till years after the war. It was December 1985 when martyr Hussein Jalaiepoor went to Mecca. He was very playful, but when he returned he had been changed completely. He begged on bended knee for his parents so that was allowed to help in the rear, but not to go to the front line. But it was his fate to arrive himself with the team of narrators to the front line. He was martyred in Operation Karbala-4 (Dec 1986). I and he were very friendly; he was so joking and playful. The guys were upset. It was his 40th Day after death that weekly meeting was held at our house. I looked for a camera and asked a friend (one of those who shot at weddings) and took a camera. We did not have floodlight too. We ourselves made a floodlight with a 1000 Watt light bulb, cardboard and aluminum. We cooked an Āsh in our house and we were shooting all the guys in 40th ceremony of Hussein Jalaiepoor. The film became historic. The guys were eating Āsh and were joking and then they saw funeral film of Hussein Jalaiepoor. There were about twenty-six people of our team. Then Rahmani, Rostamkhani and a couple of the guys who were already among us had been martyred; its film is available. (With tears) it is cleared in the film that they would be martyred. I also knew that they would be martyred and looked round for camera everywhere and found it. You must watch the movie yourself, I cannot explain. (With tears) I think martyrs Kazemi, Karimian, Bolourchi and Salehi are in the film, and the fifth is martyr Feiz who weren't there. Martyr Bolourchi in the film says that what happened in Operation Badr and said: "my God, martyr me!" at the time it was shooting. They were martyred about after a month, five or six people in one night. (With tears) it is a very interesting film. It is odd that the film has been preserved.
S: Iranian oral history