Marking the start of the Sacred Defense Week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Iranian nation will never forget the sacrifices made by the martyrs of the eight-year war waged by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against Iran.
“The Sacred Defense Week is enriched with the names and memories of the great martyrs. Their sincere sacrifices and that of other [warriors] brought victory for the Iranian nation, and their pure blood recorded the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic on the face of history,” Ayatollah Khamenei wrote in a message on Thursday.
Noting that wherever there are sincere efforts, there will be victory and pride, the Leader said, “This is the great lesson of those models of self-sacrifice.”
“And the Iranian nation will never forget this honorable legacy, inshallah,” he added.
Iraq waged a war against Iran more than one and a half years after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime.
During the war, Iraq was fully supported by the US and its allies, while the same countries denied Iran access to foreign arms.
Each year, on the first day of the national sacred defense week, which marks the beginning of the imposed war, Iran holds military parades and puts on display the latest domestically-manufactured arms and military equipment across the country as a show of might against the backdrop of the US-led arms embargoes.
Marking the beginning of this year’s Sacred Defense Week on Wednesday, hundreds of vessels from Basij volunteer forces held a naval parade in the Persian Gulf, alongside a number of vessels from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy.
More than 650 naval Basij vessels, including local fishermen’s boats, along with a number of speedboats belonging to the IRGC Navy, took part in the exercise, which was overseen by Commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri.
The participating vessels were reportedly only a small part of the large number of vessels that have been organized in the form of the naval Basij fleet.
‘Iran always calls for dialog, diplomacy with neighbors’
In a statement on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry commemorated the legacy of those who made sacrifices during the war, saying that safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and protecting the historic land’s independence were among the achievements of the Iranian nation during the Sacred Defense.
“The 8-year war against the Iranian nation was a violation of international principles and rights and disrupted the stability of the region, leaving devastating effects on regional security,” the statement read.
“The support of world powers, led by the US government, coupled with support of some [countries] in the region for the aggressor, led to the continuation of the aggression and other wars in the Persian Gulf region,” it added.
The Foreign Ministry also said the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been a promoter of dialog and diplomacy with its neighbors over the past few decades, and still considers the achievement of mutual understanding the only path to reach peace, security and development in the region.