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Home to many great ancient empires and witness to
centuries of invaders, Iran supported monarchies until 1925, when Reza
Shah Pahlavi, a Cossack military commander, gained power and reformed
the country (modeled after the newly formed Turkish Republic of Ataturk).
His son, Mohamad Reza Shah, initiated further reform by granting more
rights to women. This final Shah was overthrown by the Islamic
Revolution in 1979, which replaced Iranís trend towards secularization
with a government run by fundamentalist clerics.
Landmine / UXO Overview
Iranís landmines have been concentrated near its
borders with Iraq, Afghanistan and along the Persian Gulf. The U.S.
State Department reports that the Iranian government acknowledges
deploying over 16 million landmines during the Iran-Iraq War (1980ó1988).
Iran cites border protection as the countryís need for landmines. The
first known conference on Iranís landmine situation was held in Tehran
in February 2000 and organized by the NGO High Center of Research and
AP mines produced by Iran have been found
in other countries. However, in December 1997, a representative of Iranís
government said that the republic does not currently export anti-personnel
mines. Iran has also imported large quantities of mines,
especially from the United States before 1979. Apparently, in Iran
production of landmines is not prohibited. Like its other Mideast
neighbors, Iran retains a stockpile of mines, though the exact number
and types of mines are not known.
According to Human Rights Watch, thousands of Iranian
civilians have become victims of landmines since the Iran-Iraq War,
especially farmers and shepherds. The medical Engineering Research
Center estimates that there are about 300 mine and UXO casualties in
Iran every year. The Landmine Monitor reports that HCRI conducted a
survey of mine victims in a western province near Iraq. There, HCRI
determined that over a 10-year period, landmines caused 394 deaths and
688 injuries. About one-fourth of the fatalities were in the group
determined to be at greatest risk: young people under the age of 20.
According to Iranian officials in the year 2000 more
than 880,000 mines and UXO, and 30,000 hectacres of land were cleared.
Since 1988, over 250,000 hectacres of mined land and 9 million mines and
UXO have been cleared.
In Iran, under Islamic law, women are stoned to death by
their families and communities when husbands accuse their wives of
infidelity, which they often do as a way to get out of a marriage.
According to the New England International & Comparative Law Annual,
more than 1500 women have been stoned to death in Iran since 1979. Armed
moral police monitor the population and enforce Islamic law as
interpreted by Iranís theocracy.