Ali Sayad Shirazi
|Nickname(s)||The Iron Man |
Butcher of Kurdistan
|Born||13 May 1944|
Kaboudgonbad, Khorasan, Iran
|Died||10 April 1999 (aged 54)|
General Staff (1989–1999)
|Years of service||1964–1999|
|Rank||Major General |
Lieutenant general (posthumously)
|Commands held||Ground Force|
|Awards||Order of Fath (two 1st Classes)|
Ali Sayad Shirazi (Persian: علی صیاد شیرازی, 13 June 1944 – 10 April 1999) was an Iranian regular military (Artesh) officer. He served as commander of the Ground Force during Iran–Iraq War. He was assassinated in 1999 while serving as the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, the second-highest military office in Iran. He had personally directed several of Iran's major offensives in the war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Shirazi was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery and in 1974, he was sent to the United States for further military education. When he returned to Iran he showed opposition to the policies of the Pahlavi government and participated in some street demonstrations. He then joined the opposition movement against the Shah. During the 1979 revolution, he served in the 64th Infantry Division in Urumiyeh. He was later awarded the rank of lieutenant general of the Iranian armed forces.
During the Iran–Iraq War Sayad Shirazi became one of the most important generals of Iran. In 1981, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini appointed him commander of the Ground Forces of the Iranian Army. In 1982, he led the Iranian Pasdaran and Basij soldiers to victory in the Iranian Operation Undeniable Victory, this was the first time Iran was able to defeat Iraq in a major battle, Iran broke through Iraq's "impenetrable" defense lines and expelled them from the Dezful-Shush area, this operation is considered by many as the turning point in the war. During Iran's attempt to capture Basra with Operation Ramadan Shirazi was said: We will continue the war until Saddam Hussein is overthrown so that we can pray at Karbala and Jerusalem.
In 1988, the People's Mujahedin of Iran with help of Saddam Hussein attacked West-Iran and battled Iranian forces for Kermanshah. Iran smashed them with their counter offensive: Operation Mersad, which was led by Shirazi. He also led other successful military operations against Iraq, such as, Operation Zafar 7; and Operation Nasr-4. In 1989, Shirazi was awarded the highest military distinction in the Iranian armed forces, the Fath (Conquest) medal.
A clash and disagreement over strategy to be adopted in the Iran-Iraq war emerged between Shirazi and Mohsen Rezaee, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, in July 1986. When this rivalry became public, Ayatollah Khomeini met them in his residence on 19 July 1986 and urged them to "seek unity", telling them "You must endeavor, not to think in terms of being members of the Armed Forces or those of the Guards Corps or of the Basij forces. ... We must understand that if there were to be any disputes among you ... not only are we doomed here and now, but we also are guilty before God." It remains unclear why, Mohsen Rezaee, who had little military experience was in a technical dispute with a senior general.
There is some controversy on who advocated for the war to continue into Iraq. At the time, Ali Sayyad Shirazi (with Mohsen Rezai, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) was seen as among "the most hawkish of Iran’s military and civilian leaders, and those who most clearly advocated for continuing the war into Iraq." Shirazi used harsh counterinsurgency methods against the rebellious Kurds. Many within the regular army did not like the idea of suppressing Iranians, even if they were minorities from the periphery. Some army personnel deserted from the front in the Sanandaj region during the battles with the Kurdish irregulars. 14 A senior army aviation officer was tried and executed in Isfahan for his refusal to participate in the war against the Kurdish insurgents; several others were tried and imprisoned.
On 10 April 1999, 6:45 local time, Shirazi was assassinated outside his house while on his way to work. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a message on Shirazi's martyrdom. Iranian ex-President Khatami described him as "a selfless commander of Islam and honorable son of Iran."
Media related to Sayyad Shirazi at Wikimedia Commons
| Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Ground Forces
Hossein Hassani Sa'di
|New title|| Vice Chief of the General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces
Title next held byHedayat Lotfian
| Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces
Gholam Ali Rashid
| Supreme Leader's Representative
at Supreme National Defence Council
With: Mohsen Rafighdoost