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Country Reports
IRAN, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The first known conference on the landmine problem in Iran was held in Tehran on 15-16 February 2000, organized by the non-governmental High Center of Research and Informatics.

Mine Ban Policy

Iran has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. As reasons, the government has cited its special geographical situation and stated that a prohibition on antipersonnel mines should not prejudice a state’s legitimate right of self-defense.[1] Officials also cite a lack of viable alternatives to defend Iran's borders.[2] Included in almost every statement made by Iranian officials on the mine issue is a plea for the transfer of mine clearance technology and international cooperation. Iranian officials have not made any public statements regarding the mine ban issue in 1999 or 2000.

Iran was one of twenty nations to abstain on the vote on UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B in support of the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 December 1999, as it had on similar resolutions in 1997 and 1998. Iranian diplomats offered no explanation of these votes at the UN. Iran did not participate in major diplomatic meetings on landmines in 1999 or 2000. Iran is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Iran is a member of the Conference on Disarmament and in 1998 urged others to negotiate prohibitions on landmines within its framework.[3]

Production, Stockpiling, Transfer, Use

Iran has produced antipersonnel mines. This includes the YM-I (a copy of the Italian TS-50) and the Mk. 4 (similar to the Egyptian T/78 and Israeli No. 4) mines.[4] It is not known whether Iran is currently producing antipersonnel mines, but it has no policy or formal restrictions against production.

No information is available concerning types, quantities, or location of Iran’s AP mine stockpile. Between 1969 and 1979, Iran imported more than 2.5 million AP mines from the U.S. of the M2, M14, M16/M16A1 varieties.

Iran declared a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines in 1997, but it is not known if this moratorium is still in effect.[5] Four types of Iranian mines have been found in Afghanistan. Additionally, Human Rights Watch reported in 1998 that Iranian Mk. 4 AP mines have been found in the Ugandan border region of Sudan.

There have been no reports concerning the use of antipersonnel mines by Iran recently.

The Landmine Problem

Government officials claim that during the Iran-Iraq War, over 16 million landmines were planted in Iran covering over 4 million hectares. The number of mines Iran has emplaced on its own borders for security purposes or to deter narcotics trafficking is not known. It is not known if a nationwide survey on mine and UXO contamination has been conducted by the government.

Mine Action

Responsibility for mine action rests with the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Military Services, Mostazafan and Janbazan Foundation (MJF), Emam Emdad Committee, and the United Nations. Apparently the activities of these organizations are not well coordinated. According to the Ministry of the Interior’s 5-year plan, a budget of $183 million has been estimated to demine 2,796,000 hectares in 1,911 different areas.[6]

A UNDP mine action program for western Iran is currently on-hold pending Iranian Government approval and funding. Apparently, the reason for the delay is not related to mine action, but rather budgetary.[7]

Mine Clearance

Separate organizations in Iran may undertake mine clearance activities. For example, the Armed Forces General Headquarters has demined several areas of the western border region. Estimates of mines and “explosive devices” removed have ranged from 200,000 in 1996 to 6.2 million in 1998.

To date, with the cooperation of the Ministry of the Interior, 104,000 hectares have been demined and the demining of an additional 2,900,000 hectares is currently under consideration.[8]

The military has apparently marked mine-affected areas. Demining in Iran is accomplished manually and also by mechanical methods. Iran has indigenously produced a mechanical clearance vehicle named the Taftan-1. This unmanned, remotely operated vehicle is reported to be able to withstand the impact of mines weighing up to 10 kilograms.[9]

Mine Awareness

Apparently, there are currently no mine awareness programs in Iran. However, the “First International Conference on Land Mine Victim Assistance during Peace Period” was held in Tehran on 15-16 February 2000. It was organized by the High Center of Research and Informatics (HCRI), which is affiliated with the Mostazafan and Janbazan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Trauma Care Foundation (Norway) and World Health Organization. Different organizations, ministries, members of the Armed Forces as well as some local landmine injured people participated in the conference. This was the first known conference about the landmine problem in Iran and may in the future lead to increased mine awareness and victim assistance efforts in Iran.

Landmine Casualties

The exact number of people who have been killed or injured by AP mines in Iran is not available. However, in January 2000 a survey was conducted in Eylam, a western province of Iran, by HCRI with the purpose of preparing a statistical evaluation of civilian mine victims. According to this survey, Eylam, with the population of about 500,000, and having the longest common border with Iraq (about 250 km) has the most infected landmine areas in comparison with other western provinces. Mehran, Dehloran and Moosian are the most infected areas/towns in this province. The majority of fatalities were people under the age of twenty (ninety-eight deaths). Another group at high risk is shepherds whose lifestyle makes them extremely vulnerable. The following table shows the range of landmine casualties during the past 10 years in Eylam province:[10]


Victim Assistance

Little is known about programs in Iran to care for landmine victims and raise awareness of landmines. HCRI is planning to undertake a pilot study of the assistance and awareness programs for victims and affected communities, especially in Eylam province. HCRI (Mostazafan and Janbazan Foundation) has presented a project on mine victim assistance to the Iranian Ministry of Health and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


[1] Statement by S.M.H. Adeli, Ambassador to Canada, Ottawa, 4 December 1997.
[2] Statement by Ambassador Sirous Nasseri, Head of Delegation to the CCW Review Conference, Vienna, 27 September 1995.
[3] Statement by Ambassador Mehdi Danesh Yazdi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic or Iran to the UN, 17 November 1998.
[4] Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance, 1999-2000, online update, 18 November 1999.
[5] Statement by Ambassador Mehdi Danesh Yazdi to the UN, 17 November 1998.
[6] Budget figure converted at official rates; Iranian Ministry of the Interior, 5 Year Plan, April 2000.
[7] UNDP, “Mine Action Updates Country and Global Programmes,” 17 November 1999.
[8] Information provided to Landmine Monitor by the Khatamolanbia Military Demining Department, April, 2000.
[9] “Iran Says Will Produce Own Mine-Clearing Vehicle,” Reuters, 28 July 1999.
[10] HCRI Survey of Mine Victims in Elyam Province. The data for 1999 is only through October.