*Is the diplomatic option viable when dealing with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have promoted – since 1979 – child martyrdom in their school curriculum and on the battlefield?!

*Is the diplomatic option viable when dealing with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have espoused child martyrdom in the service of their Islamic Revolution, which aims to topple all pro-US Arab Sunni regimes and bring “the Great American Satan” and other Western “infidels” to submission?!

*Is the diplomatic option viable when dealing with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have urged Iranian children to participate in the annual November 13 “National Day of Fighting Arrogance” (commemorating the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran and holding over 50 Americans hostages for 444 days), declaring their hatred toward “the bullying and oppressive USA” and chanting “Death to America”?!

Luring children into mine-sweeping

Brainwashing children into martyrdom is presented by the Ayatollahs as an extension of the Shiite mythology surrounding the 680 AD Battle of Karbala, which was the Big Bang of the Sunni-Shiite conflict and the role model for martyrdom. During the battle, Hussain ibn Ali, the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Muhammad, and his warriors – including children – were betrayed and massacred by the Sunni Caliph Yazid.

“During the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war, children were sent to be slaughtered on mine-sweeping missions…. Iranian officials forced underage Afghan refugees to fight in the Syrian civil war on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s government….”

According to the Geneva-based Refworld (an arm of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees), “[Iranian] child soldiers, some as young as nine, were used extensively during the Iran-Iraq war…. They were given ‘keys to paradise’ and promised that they would go directly to heaven if they died as martyrs against the Iraqi enemy….

“An Iranian government representative admitted in a closed-door sub-commission hearing that children did participate in the war against Iraq…. In a series of rulings issued in the autumn of 1982, Ayatollah Khomeini declared that parental permission was unnecessary for those going to the front…. Iranian officers captured by the Iraqis claimed that nine out of ten Iranian child soldiers were killed…. Boys as young as nine were reportedly used in human wave attacks and to serve as mine sweepers in the war with Iraq…. Martyrs’ families enjoyed some social prestige and reportedly received monetary compensation per child, plus a martyr’s card entitling the family to food and other privileges. Child soldiers were nearly all from poor villages or slum families….”

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reported that “during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, when self-sacrifice and martyrdom became the quintessential values of the Islamic Revolution and the guiding principles of Iranian society, more than 550,000 [elementary and high school] students were sent to the front, often with a plastic ‘key to paradise’ hanging around their necks…. They were used as cannon fodder in human-wave attacks launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps against the Iraqi forces.  October 30 is celebrated as Student Basij (paramilitary unites] Day, in order to promote and glorify the spirit of martyrdom….

“Iran’s Welfare and Social Security Minister, Sadeq Mahsouli, said that ‘children should be educated in such a way that when they reach the age of 13, they will be able to imitate Hossein Fahmideh [commit martyrdom].’”

The New York Times’ Terence Smith reported on “the 12-17 year old ‘Warriors of God’, joining Iran’s battle against Iraq, wearing blood-red headbands and a small metal key to heaven, if killed in the holy war against Iraq. They were divinely designated martyrs who stormed barbed wire or marched into Iraqi mine fields in the face of withering machine-gun fire to clear the way for Iranian tanks.

“The young boys were recruited by local clergy or simply rounded up in the villages of Iran, given an intensive indoctrination in the Shiite tradition of martyrdom, and then sent into battle against Iraqi armor. Often bound together in groups of 20 by ropes to prevent the fainthearted from deserting, they hurl themselves on barbed wire, or march into Iraqi mine fields in the face of withering machine-gun fire to clear the way for Iranian tanks.  Across the back of their khaki-colored shirts is stenciled the slogan: ‘I have the special permission of the Imam to enter heaven.’

“Iran seems a society possessed. Its soldiers at the front and its clerical leaders at home display a kind of zealotry in pursuit of their revolution that is hard for the Western mind to comprehend….”

According to IMPACT SE 2021-2022 study of Iran’s school curriculum: “….Child martyrdom is glorified…. Martyrdom is viewed as a goal to be pursued in order to achieve spiritual perfection….”

The bottom line

*Since February 1979 – when the Ayatollahs assumed power in Iran – the diplomatic option has been a moral failure, rewarding a regime, which has brainwashed children into martyrdom, in addition to repressing the ethnic and religious minorities of Iran.

*Since February 1979, the diplomatic option has been a strategic failure, energizing a regime, which has evolved into the regional and global epicenter of anti-US subversion, terrorism and dissemination of advanced military systems throughout the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

*The US’ diplomatic option and moral values, on the one hand, and Iran’s child martyrdom and domestic and foreign policy, on the other hand, are dramatically incompatible.

*The 43-year-old track record of the diplomatic option attests to its resounding failure and the need to shift to another option, which will free the Iranian people, the Middle East and the globe of the wrath of the Ayatollahs.

This column was originally published at The Ettinger Report


The views expressed in guest columns are not necessarily the views or positions of the CCNS or its members.

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security