[A report on how Iranian regime is using children in teenager in its wars—both in war with Iraq, and now in Syria.]
REPORTER asks: What are you doing?
KID answers: We are going to give him hell.
REPORTER asks: How?
KID responds: With weapon.
REPORTER asks again: What would you do if you didn’t have a weapon?
KID says: If we didn’t have weapons, then empty-handed.
REPORTER says: We are men of schools. The hopes he had is his head taught us how to fly. Because he believed in us.
KID introduces himself: I am Mehrdad Azizollahi, deployed from Isfahan. I am 14 years old. I am in destruction unit, which means that I open the path and the passageway for the brothers, so that they don’t step on landmines, and, God forbids, something bad happen to them.
QASSEM SULEIMANI talks about significance of the front for youths: Front is that lost paradise of human beings. Perhaps, the most attractive and the most truthful cultural movement that can insure the new generation and the young generation is this atmosphere of the fronts.
KID says: We will follow the path of Martyr Ali Zade-Akbar. I want to get martyred myself in the path of Imam Hossein.
KID says: To grow up, to become a revolutionary guard, and get martyred.
WOMAN asks: Where do you like to get martyred?
KID respons: …Zahra.
CHORUS SINGING: We are always ready to die/ My goal is not liberating Iraq and Syria/ My path is from Aleppo/ My target is Quds/ From childhood, I am at the service of this honored rider/ Like Habib Mazaher, I am defender of the shrine.
NARRATOR points to teenagers killed in Syria: This is the burial ceremony of Gholam-Abbas Amiri in the city of Varamin, close to Tehran. Amiri was one of the members of Fatemiyoun Division of IRGC Quds Force who was killed in Syria in May this year. According to the regime’s news agency, Gholam-Abbas Amiri was only 15 years old at the time of his death. He was the only child of the family. And this is the burial ceremony of Mohammad Hossein Rezai in the city of Delijan. Rezai who was killed in Syria was only 16 years old.
NARRATOR explains Iranian regime propaganda campaign for recruiting children and teenagers: During the 5 years past from the regime’s military intervention in Syria, hundreds of teenagers have been deployed to Syria by the regime, some of whom were killed and wounded. During past months, regime’s propaganda campaign has increased for justifying military intervention in Syria and using military atmosphere in Syria for recruiting forces for IRGC, Basij, and suppression apparatus. In this propaganda campaign, the regime is also targeting the children.
NARRATOR talks of children in war with Iraq: To correctly understand this campaign and regime’s using children and teenagers in foreign war and domestic suppression, we must go back and look at the regime’s first experience in this regard during the 8-year war with Iraq. Regime’s officials admit that during the war with Iraq, 550,000 students—meaning more than half a million children and teenagers under the age of 18—were deployed to death’s fronts.
MOHAMMAD SALEH JOKAR [commander of students’ Basij] says: During the holy war, 550,000 students were deployed to fronts at different intervals.
NARRATOR gives statistics about children killed in Iran-Iraq war: According to the regime’s statistics, 36,000 students were killed, and more than 100,000 were injured. Every now and then, the regime holds commemoration ceremony for these students who were killed in war, so that it can recruit more students for its war and suppression apparatus. Many of the students who were deployed to war fronts with Iraq were under 15 years old, and the most well-known example of them was Hossein Fahmideh.
NARRATOR explains how these children were used in Iran-Iraq war: Regime sent some of these children who couldn’t carry weapons for clearing minefields. In this criminal tactic, many children were torn to pieces so that the revolutionary guards could pass mined areas with ease of mind. Look at an old interview of IRIB with a 14-year old kid who was deployed to war front. In this interview, he points out to his duty in clearing the minefields.
REPORTER says: We are going to talk and ask questions from our little brother who has taken part in the war front. Please after introducing yourself, tell us how many days you have been in the front.
KID introduces himself: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. “My Lord, expand my breast, And ease for me my task, And untie the knot from my tongue, That they may understand my speech.” [Quran, Taha] I am Mehrdad Azizollahi, deployed from Isfahan. It has been almost 3 weeks that I have been in the [unintelligible] front.
REPORTER: Please tell us why you have…