Skip to main content

Iran-Iraq battlefield tours spark controversy in Iran

Critics accuse educational tours to the sites of the Iran-Iraq war of indoctrinating students and promoting tourism on unsafe roads.
EDITORS' NOTE:  Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran.

Two girls pose for a photograph as they sit at a mock shelter at a war exhibition held by Iran's Basij militia and revolutionary guard to mark the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), also known in Iran as the "Holy Defence", at a Revolutionary Guards military base in south-eastern Tehran September 23, 2010. The base, also known as the Resistance Village, is used a

TEHRAN, Iran — Rahian-e Noor (Path of Light) is the name given by military organizations, such as Sepah and Basij, to tours that throughout the year take visitors to areas that were once the heart of the battle during the Iran-Iraq war. Critics of these tours, however, say that the tours are meant to indoctrinate and are upset that a shocking number of traffic accident fatalities have occurred en route to these sites, so much so that the tours have earned the nickname, Rahian-e Goor (Path of the Grave).

On March 17, a few days before the start of the Nowruz holidays, which is the busiest time of the year for these tours, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appeared among the staff responsible for conducting these tours. “Certain incidents that occur from time to time during these trips should be prevented,” Khamenei said. “However, these incidents should not be used as an excuse for questioning this important and beneficial activity in its entirety.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.