Memories of the bloody war with the neighboring Iraq that ended 24 years ago still roam free in the streets of Tehran and many Iranian cities.
Murals of martyrs decorate highway-adjacent walls, streets are still named after war heroes, and whether you are looking for it or not, billboards telling war stories or just adorned with a simple message of “Martyrs Are Alive Forever” can be easily found.
It is almost impossible to wash away the memories and trauma of the armed conflict (September 1980 to August 1988), which took the lives of thousands of Iranians and injured many more.
The Iranian government takes every opportunity to remind the public of the sacrifices made by those killed in the war. Museums and exhibitions display war-inspired art and even personal items of the martyrs. State television and cinemas regularly screen war related movies, and books retelling accounts of war by soldiers and commanders are published each year. And the army holds parades to commemorate the memories of the war.
In addition to its destruction, the war also touched Iranians in a unique way, as they became the first victims of chemical weapons in contemporary history when the regime of Iraq’s Sadam Hussein used such weaponry. Veterans who were exposed to chemical weapons are still struggling with its aftermath.
And while the families of soldiers still long for recovering the body of their beloved ones, the menace of a new military conflict has concerned many Iranians who fear Israel will eventually make good on its threat and attack the Islamic state