Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 10 February 2016

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a significant number of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors who are in need of assistance.


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

9,764 recorded; estimates of 10,000 in 2006

Casualties in 2014

77 (2013: 107)

2014 casualties by outcome

17 killed; 60 injured (2013: 36 killed; 71 injured)

2014 casualties by device type

4 antivehicle landmines; 22 antipersonnel landmines; 21 unspecified landmines; 23 ERW; 7 unknown device type

In 2014, the Monitor identified 77 casualties from landmines and ERW in Iran.[1] Landmine casualties occurred in the five western border provinces of West Azarbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Ilam, and Khuzestan, and also in South Khorassan[2] and Kerman[3] provinces. Incidents caused by unknown explosive devices killed two civilians and another injured five in Sistan and Baluchestan[4] and East Azarbaijan[5] provinces. ERW casualties occurred in all five western border provinces and also in Mazandaran.[6]

Men constituted the vast majority of casualties for whom sex and age were known (53 of 64, or 83%).[7] There were five casualties among women. The sex of 11 civilian casualties remain unknown. At least seven casualties were children, including six boys and one child of unknown sex. This constitutes 18% of the 40 civilian casualties for whom the age was known, which shows a decrease in comparison with 2013. The age of 12 civilian casualties remains unknown.

In 2014, 68% of all known casualties were civilians (52: 14 killed, 38 injured), a larger share of total casualties compared to known civilian casualties in 2013 (60, 56%).The 77 casualties identified in 2014 is a decrease compared to the 107 identified for 2013 and is the lowest number of recorded casualties since 1988, the first year for which data is available.[8] The highest number of recorded annual civilian casualties, 918, was recorded in 1995 and civilian casualties has decreased steadily since then.

There were 17 deminer casualties (one killed, 16 injured) recorded in 2014. This is by far the lowest number of deminer casualties recorded since 2006, the first year for which comprehensive deminer casualty data is available,[9] and constitutes a decrease compared to 28 deminer casualties in 2013. Since 2006, the high number of deminer casualties reported has partially offset the decrease in civilian casualties to maintain a high rate of annual casualties in Iran. The number of casualties among deminers surpassed civilian casualties in both 2011 and 2012. Casualties reported among deminers reached a peak in 2009, with 169 casualties recorded.

In 2014 there were eight casualties among security forces (two killed, six injured), which constitutes a decrease compared to 19 known military casualties in 2013.

Monitor data for 2014 was compiled from media scanning and other sources and therefore may not capture the full extent of casualties occurring during the year.

The Monitor identified a total of 9,764 casualties (2,768 killed; 6,995 injured; one unknown) from landmines and ERW in Iran between 1988 and 2014, based on the data gathered in 2015 that updated casualty information for previous years.[10] As of 2006, the UN had reported that there had been approximately 10,000 casualties in Iran.[11] No data is available on casualties among security forces in years prior to 2008.

Mine/ERW casualties recorded in Iran, by civilian status*


Civilian (1988-2014)

Deminer (1990-2014)

Security Forces (2008–2014)









* Note: status is unknown for one casualty.


Victim Assistance

Between 1988 and the end of 2014, there were 6,995 people injured by landmines and ERW in Iran, the vast majority of which (more than 80%) are civilians (5,691).

Victim assistance since 1999

Since 1999, comprehensive victim assistance has been available for military casualties. The same assistance became available to deminers beginning in 2010. Civilians who were recognized as war victims could also access some services through government agencies, although psychological support and economic inclusion programs were extremely limited. However, many civilians and deminers who were not recognized as war victims received minimal assistance that was insufficient to meet their needs. Few services were available in the remote regions where many survivors are based.

There is no comprehensive plan or central coordinating body in charge of assistance to all victims of landmines. The result is that the assistance that victims have received varies widely in accordance with the victim status they are assigned and with the legal framework that happens to govern their cases.

Military survivors and their families, whether they had their mine incident while demining or in another context, receive support through their respective military units.[12]

In 2006, the Iranian Mine Action Center (IRMAC) began providing life and disability insurance coverage for deminers working for private subcontractors, although not the more complete coverage deminers were granted in 2010.[13]

Civilian mine/ERW victims who were recognized as martyrs or disabled “veterans”[14] were entitled to comprehensive assistance provided by Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs (FMVA). Other civilian mine/ERW victims who were not recognized as such were only entitled to negligible allowances accorded by Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF) or the State Welfare Organization (SWO).[15]

For 17 years (1993–2010), the law and regulation governing the eligibility of civilian mine/ERW victims[16] as martyrs or disabled veterans expressly excluded the victims who were known to be “morally corrupt” or “counter-revolutionary” as well as those who had “recklessly,” or “intentionally,” caused the incident.[17] Provincial commissions (referred to as “Article 2 Commissions”) in the five war-affected provinces determined the eligibility of individual victims and were criticized for excluding many individuals from the benefits that the law assigned to survivors and families.[18] Victims could appeal to the Court of Administrative Justice against the decisions of the Article 2 Commissions. In several cases, the court overturned those decisions,[19] emphasizing the authorities’ failure in fulfilling their duty of clearing the area where the incident had occurred, and lack of evidence upholding the claim that the appellant had caused the incident intentionally or recklessly. In such cases, the court ordered the respondent governorate to recognize the status of the victim as a veteran or martyr.

Following protests by the victims and civil activists and at the initiative of a number of members of parliament from the affected provinces, both the 1993 law establishing the process for registering as a mine/ERW victim and its 1994 regulation were amended in August 2010.[20] References to “moral corruption” and “recklessness” were removed and other changes were made in order to make the procedure more accessible to victims.[21] The amendment was retroactive, enabling all past victims, including those who were excluded by the decision of previous commissions for “recklessness” or “corruption,” to submit their case under the new law. Despite these favorable legislative amendments, through 2014 bureaucratic hurdles continued to prevent many victims from successfully registering for assistance.

Under August 2010 legislative amendment the FMVA must register deminer casualties of mines/ ERW as martyrs or disabled veterans (for those killed or survivors, respectively) and provide for the medical care for survivors.[22] In 2013, FMVA reportedly readapted its policy in order to accept applications from deminer survivors and the families of deminers killed in incidents prior to August 2010.[23]

City governorates convene the Article 2 Commission to decide on victims’ cases on an ad hoc basis, once they consider there to be a sufficient number of cases. In some small cities with survivors the commission had not been convened. In some cases very long delays in administrative proceedings were reported (in one case almost two decades),[24] during which time no financial assistance was available. Costs were not reimbursed retroactively even if survivors were found to be eligible.[25] In response, in 2013, IRMAC dedicated resources to cover the costs of deminer survivors and the families of those killed while the proceedings of registration for FMVA assistance are pending.[26] However, no equivalent assistance was available for civilian victims.

Civilian victims often lacked the financial resources to pay for emergency medical care, rehabilitation and other services, as well as insurance coverage.[27]

Some survivors injured in border areas and treated in neighboring Iraq were unable to receive assistance because their medical documentation was not issued in Iran,[28] and/or their movements in the border area were judged to be unlawful.[29]

Victim assistance in 2014

Through 2014, bureaucratic barriers continued to prevent many mine/ERW survivors and family members of those killed from registering for assistance. The FMVA, the organ that would provide services to survivors and victims’ families in case of favorable decision of the Article 2 Commission, is itself in charge of filing applications and transmitting them to city governorates. Reportedly, in certain cases, FMVA blocks the registration of applications by requiring documents that victims cannot provide.[30] Support for child victims was minimal as the FMVA did not provide allowances to minors who are supported by their parents or legal guardians.[31] Families of child survivors often struggle to provide for their needs, as they often live in remote areas and in poor economic conditions.

Assessing victim assistance needs

IRMAC, with partial sponsorship from ICRC, launched a pilot project in 2013 to identify civilian mine/ERW survivors with the greatest needs for physical rehabilitation. This also strengthened IRMAC’s data collection capacities.[32] Following the identification phase, in 2014 the ICRC signed an agreement with the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to provide its physical rehabilitation services. Subsequently, the IRMAC referred victims to the IRCS. Out of 100 referrals, 41 were eligible and received physical rehabilitation services through the IRCS, with costs covered by the ICRC. In 2015 the ICRC and the IRCS were exploring the possibility to continue the joint project.[33]

Janbazan Medical and Engineering Research Center (JMERC) collected data for the second phase of an epidemiological study of trauma caused by landmine accidents as an update to a 2006 study on survivors who applied to the FMVA between 1988 and 2003 (3,713 people).[34] The new study, covering the period from 2003 to 2013, was not yet published as of October 2015.

In 2015 JMERC published two studies on child casualties.[35]

In June 2011, IRMAC reported working to develop a single, comprehensive database of mine/ERW casualties, compiling information available from a variety of national ministries and foundations, such as the Ministry of Interior, FMVA, and the IKRF, as well as from local authorities and NGOs working in mine-affected provinces.[36] No further update on the database was available through October 2015. The Comprehensive Law on Provision of Services to War Veterans, adopted in December 2012, required the FMVA to develop a comprehensive database on the state of health of the persons under its coverage.[37]

Victim assistance coordination

Government coordinating body/ focal point

Ministry of the Interior with the FMVA, IKRF, and the SWO for civilian survivors; IRMAC and FMVA for casualties caused by demining accidents

Coordinating mechanism(s)




The Ministry of Interior is responsible for coordinating and monitoring victim assistance for all civilian survivors and the families of those killed. Survivors or their family members must report the mine incident to the FMVA office in their district to register and to have their case submitted to the local commissions as detailed above. If the Article 2 Commission grants martyr or disabled-veteran status to the victim, they are referred to the FMVA for assistance. Victims whose applications are rejected by the local commission are referred to SWO in urban areas and to the IKRF in rural areas.[38]

The Department of Martyrs and Veterans within IRMAC is responsible for the coordination of assistance to deminers that are injured or killed as a result of a demining accident. The Ministry of Defense monitors the provision of victim assistance to deminers.[39]

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

The War Veterans’ Parliamentary Group, with 130 members, is one of the largest groups within the Iranian parliament.[40] The parliamentary group worked to ensure the allocation of sufficient resources for provision of services to veterans in annual budget laws.[41] In 2013, a Commission of Enquiry into the activities of FMVA was established at the initiative of the War Veterans’ Parliamentary Group in reaction to serious claims of corruption. The results of the Commission of Enquiry were pending as of August 2015.[42]

The Center for Blind Veterans’ Affairs “Khaneye Noor-e-Iran” provides a platform for those veterans who have lost their vision—some of whom landmine survivors—to have a voice in the process of the adoption of rules and standards governing provision of services to them. The center also aims at full accessibility in urban planning to ensure that the needs of the blind are taken into consideration.[43] Other groups of disabled veterans that include mine victims, such as double-limb amputees,[44] have also formed associations and social networks at the initiative of FMVA. The “Association of Upstanding Veterans” representing double-limb amputees advocates for improvement of access to and quality of physical rehabilitation services.[45]

No information was available on any independent, non-governmental, active NGO, association or network representing landmine and ERW survivors not registered with FMVA.


Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2014

Janbazan Medical and Engineering Research Center (JMERC)

Government agency

Research including healthcare needs assessments for mine/ERW survivors; facilitating access to services

Launched assessment specifically for victims not covered by state assistance; research on the needs of child survivors

Iranian Mine Action Center (IRMAC)

Government agency

Facilitate and provide a full range of victim assistance services to deminers involved in demining accidents

Referrals to rehabilitation

Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs (FMVA)

Government agency

Healthcare and financial support to war victims, including mine/ERW survivors and family members of those who are killed


Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF)

Government agency

Relief services for vulnerable groups, including survivors


State Welfare Organization (SWO)

Government agency

Relief services for persons with disabilities

Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS)

National society

Physical rehabilitation


International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

International organization

Participated in consultations with IRMAC and IRCS on the design of a plan of action aimed at better meeting the needs of civilian victims. IRMAC received medical kits for 70 field personnel from ICRC

Ongoing; increased support for rehabilitation in cooperation with IRMAC and IRCS


Laws and Policy

In December 2012, the Expediency Council enacted the Comprehensive Law on Provision of Services to War Veterans.[46] The legislation stipulates all the services and benefits to be provided to disabled veterans and families of martyrs.[47] Mine victims and their families would be eligible for those services if successful in applying for the required status.[48] However, shortage in financial resources has since hindered the full implementation of this law. On 25 December 2013 the vice-president of legal affairs addressed a directive to all ministries, governmental and non-governmental public institutions in which she noted that the law had entered into force, but its implementation required the adoption of executive regulations, which would be postponed until the relevant regulations were adopted and the necessary resources were allocated in the national budget.[49] In an interview published on 5 August 2014, the director general of the legal department of FMVA stated that the department had drafted and communicated to the government 17 regulations relative to the implementation of the Law and 13 more were pending drafting.[50]

Services listed in the 2012 Comprehensive Law on Provision of Services to War Veterans include: adequate housing; complete coverage of healthcare expenses; and the provision of all necessary medical services, including physical and psychological rehabilitation by FMVA. The law establishes 25% employment quotas in the public sector for eligible persons as well as tax and compensation benefits for private enterprises that hire them. The law also foresees the provision of legal aid for covered persons by the Ministry of Justice whenever necessary. The law requires the FMVA to cover school fees for eligible persons and their children who study in private higher education institutions and establishes quotas in public universities.

In 2013, the FMVA attempted to address physical barriers to access services for beneficiaries with disabilities, including registered landmine survivors, by paying the transportation fees for those living outside major cities or by sending medical teams to conduct outreach visits.[51] Despite these efforts, disparities in access to services remained even among those who are entitled to receive services from FMVA, based on their physical distance from services.[52]

In contrast to the comprehensive assistance system for veterans, mine survivors not granted the status of disabled veterans are not eligible for any assistance beyond minimal allowances available through SWO or IKRF. Despite high inflation these allowances remained unchanged in the decade between 2004 and 2013. As a result, survivors relying on allowances were reported to be living in extreme poverty.[53]

Discrimination against persons with disabilities is prohibited by law in Iran. The Comprehensive Law on the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities[54] requires the government to set out and implement standards of public accessibility in public spaces and government buildings (Article 2) so that all new buildings and spaces are constructed in accordance with them. The regulation on the implementation of this provision[55] requires the progressive adaptation of all existing government buildings to make them accessible to persons with disabilities (Article 3). A National Coordination Committee for Accessibility was created and held its first meeting in September 2014.[56] In 2014, newly-built government-funded buildings were seen to comply with the standards laid out in Article 2. There were also efforts made to increase access to historical sites for persons with disabilities. However, non-government buildings or government buildings predating the accessibility standards remained inaccessible, for the most part.[57]

Iran ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 23 October 2009. The Iranian parliament designated the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security (State Welfare Organization) and the FMVA as focal points for matters relating to the implementation of the convention.[58] In June 2015, the government adopted the Comprehensive Plan for Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, parts of which will be included in a draft law that will be communicated to the parliament for adoption. The Plan provides for the constitution of a Coordination Council composed of relevant government authorities, as well as five representatives of persons with disabilities elected by networks of NGOs.[59]

[1] Monitor media monitoring from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014.

[2]Landmine explosion killed desert explorer in Birjand,” IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency), 4 January 2014

[3] “Landmine explosion in Lut desert injured 7,” Feydus, 23 March 2014

[4]Details of mine explosion in a wedding,” ISNA (Iranian Students’ News Agency), 8 October 2014. Although the title here indicates a landmine was the cause of the incident, further investigations revealed uncertainty about device type.

[5]Explosion killed country boy in Hashtrood,” FARS, 11 November 2014

[7] Another two casualties were males of unknown age.

[8] Iranian Mine Action Center (IRMAC), “Statistics of civilian casualties of landmine and ERW in contaminated areas 1367-1391 (1988-2012),” provided by IRMAC, Tehran, 9 February 2014.

[9] Telephone interview with individual requesting anonymity, 1 July 2014.

[10] Ibid.; “Track record of demining activities of the Ground Forces of the Army of Islamic Republic of Iran (1369-25/12/1390),” 28 October 2012; and Monitor media monitoring from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014.

[11] “Information about Landmine Explosion Victims,” provided by Nahid Nafissi, Director, Iranian Mine Victim Resource Center, 25 August 2005; and UN, “2006 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2007, p. 199.

[12] Telephone interview with Behnam Sadeghi, Professional Deminer, Mine Risk Educator and Blogger on Min o Zendegi, 2 September 2013.

[14] “Veterans” has been translated from the Persian “Janbaz,” which is used to refer to military veterans who have become disabled but is also used to refer to civilians who have been injured due to landmines and other conflict related causes.

[15] Mohsen Kakarash, “The hidden enemy and thousands of victims,” Radio Zamaneh, 20 April 2012; and “Hand grenade killed two Kurdish sisters,” Bahar (daily newspaper), 3 July 2013, p. 14.

[16] This includes direct victims of landmine incidents (survivors) and the family members of those killed by landmines.

[18] “Examination of the difficulties met by persons with disabilities in presence of the member of the High Council of Islamic Human Rights Commission, Ayatollah Doctor Hashemzadeh Harissi,” Iranian Commission of Islamic Human Rights North-Western Office, 28 July 2009. Mr. Harissi states that Article 2 of the commission deprives the victim and their families from their rights under the justification that the victim has entered a forbidden zone and has manipulated the explosives with the intention of committing sabotage.

[19] Several such decisions are integrally quoted in the following rulings: The Grand Chamber of Court of Administrative Justice, Ruling no. 317, 24 October 2011; The Grand Chamber of Court of Administrative Justice, Ruling no. 363, 12 August 2013.

[21] However, the exclusion of victims who are known to be “counter-revolutionary” remains in place.

[23] IRMAC presentation, Tehran, 9 February 2014.

[24] For example, in West Azarbaijan a case remained undecided 19 years after the applicant was injured in a landmine incident: Interview with Osman Mozayyan, Lawyer, Tehran, 10 February 2014.

[25] Interview with Osman Mozayyan, Tehran, 10 February 2014.

[26] IRMAC presentation, Tehran, 9 February 2014.

[27] Omid Memarian, the member of parliament (MP) for Marivan and Sarvestan, has mentioned that the child victims of the landmine incident in Nashkash village of 18 October 2013 had difficulties in receiving assistance for medical expenses after the accident: “Marivan MP criticizes the reaction of Ministries of Defence and Interior to landmine incident,” Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA), 20 October 2013.

[28] Chamber 26 of the Court of Administrative Justice, Jalil Mohammadi v. Governorate of Kermanshah, 18 December 2010. The court states that the fact that all clinical documents of the claimant are in Arabic and issued by Iraqi medical authorities proves that he has been illegally moving across the border, and so his claim is rejected.

[29] On 9 November 2006, two herders were killed in the same landmine incident near Qasr-e-Shirin, in Kermanshah. One of them was recognized as a martyr (entailing the entitlement of his family to assistance), while the second was denied this status. The ruling of the Court of Administrative Justice on the first case emphasized that the victim was in possession of a card authorizing him to move around in border areas: The Grand Chamber of Court of Administrative Justice, Ruling no. 363, 12 August 2013.

[30] Interview with Osman Mozayyan, Tehran, 10 February 2014.

[31] Telephone interview with Behnam Sadeghi, Min o Zendegi, 20 October 2015.

[32] ICRC “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015, p. 477.

[33] Email from, ICRC-Tehran, 6 August 2015.

[34] Ahmad-Reza Soroosh & al., “Human trauma caused by mine explosion: final report of the epidemiological study of human trauma caused by explosion of landmines in western provinces of the country between 1367 and 1383,” Tehran, JMERC, 2006.

[35]Mental health disorders in child and adolescent survivors of post-war landmine explosions,” Military Medical Research, 13 November 2015; and ‘Epidemiological Study of Child Casualties of Landmines and Unexploded Ordnances: A National Study from Iran,” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine - Cambridge Journals, 16 September 2015 pp. 472-477.

[36] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Mohammad Hossein Amirahmadi, IRMAC, 7 June 2011.

[38] Telephone interview with Behnam Sadeghi, Min o Zendegi, 2 September 2013.

[39] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Mohammad Hossein Amirahmadi, IRMAC, 7 June 2011.

[40] It is not known if any of the 130 members are survivors of landmine incidents but the group should represent the needs of all disabled veterans, including those disabled by landmines. “Kosari was elected as the head of Veterans’ Parliamentary Group,” ISNA, 31 July 2012.

[43] The center was created at the initiative of FMVA in 2004. Since then, its activities have extended beyond the interests of blind veterans to cover areas that are useful to all people with such disability, Khana, undated.

[45] Interview with Dr. Ahmad-Reza Soroosh, JMERC, Tehran, 9 February 2014.

[47] As stated above, this category includes both former military who are disabled as well as civilians who successfully apply for martyr or disabled veteran status.

[48] Lifetime medical coverage is provided for all those who are recognized as veterans. Provision of other services is related to the scale of disability specified by medical commissions. All veterans with more than 25% disability receive a monthly allowance.

[49] Modalities of implementation of the Comprehensive Law on Provision of Services to War Veterans, Vice-President in Legal Affairs, Directive No. 153881/21146 of 25 December 2013.

[52] Interview with Dr. Ahmad-Reza Soroosh, JMERC, Tehran, 9 February 2014.

[53] The IKRF allowance was found to be insufficient even for buying bandages or other most elementary medical articles, and did not cover living costs. Interview with Osman Mozayyan, lawyer, Tehran, 10 February 2014.

[57] United States Department of State, “2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Iran,” Washington, DC, 25 June 2015.